Monday, December 10, 2007

Roast lamb

I was talking on the phone with my mum tonight, very proud of my recent achievement.

Me: Miss Q has a new boyfriend, and last night he was over for dinner to meet us. I made a lamb roast. It was beautiful, the best roast I have ever made. The meat was brown and crispy on the outside, and pink and juicy on the inside. I poked garlic and rosemary into the meat before I cooked it, so it was really tasty. I made baked potatoes too. I boiled them first, then shook them around when I put them in the tray with lots of oil, whole garlic cloves, sea salt and rosemary, so they were crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Yum! It wasn't as good as your roast though.

Mum: Yes, that sounds delicious. It couldn't have been as good as mine though.

Me: No way, mum. You make the best lamb roast ever. Plus, I think that roast always tastes a little better when someone else makes it.

Mum: That's true. Even your grandmother's roast tasted better to me. And that's saying something, because normally she wasn't the best cook. Even Robin tasted pretty good.

Me: Who's Robin?

Mum: That was your father's pet lamb. I was around for dinner one night, and halfway through the meal I said, "Reta, this is a lovely roast." "Yes," she said, "it's Robin."

Monday, December 3, 2007

Carry on blogging

Thank you readers (Ann), I will be continuing on with this blog. But first I have to get some new material.


I'm off to phone the Kiwi.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Scavenger hunt

November 30, and I have reached 30 items on my Scavenger Hunt list. It has been a joy, an education, and an eye-opener hunting through new blogs in search of interesting items. I orginally got (stole) the idea from Radioactive Jam. RaJ started with a list of suggested items, then created the posts to fit (to great effect). I went the other way, and created the list as I went along.

I've discovered some gems during the hunt, because I have gone out of my comfort zone, and concentrated on finding a point of interest in blogs I would normally skip. Calfkeeper for example, from Dairy Daze . The beautifully written entries about her life on a dairy farm are so fascinating, I've added her to my blogroll.

Looking back over the list, I am delighted with the range of items. Funny words, places, names, recipes, animals, events, pictures, and music. And it shows a novice blogger like me what a rich and broad spectrum of topics there are being written about.

So this is it for this year's PoMo. November 30 is the perfect day for a warm, fuzzy and sentimental post about what a wonderful blog-world we enjoy. Cue Louis Armstrong.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Where's the romance?

Tonight I hosted an open home buyers preview evening for a new property I have listed. It is by invitation only, with a couple of bottles of wine and a cheese platter.

This event has a number of benefits. It makes our buyers feel special. It cuts down on the intrusion on the sellers. And most importantly, it brings emotion into the process. The idea is if the buyers have a glass of wine and a relaxed, social atmosphere, they might start to imagine what it would be like when they are entertaining their family and friends. It turns the house into a home.

At least, that is the idea. It seems the buyers of Hobart have lost the romance.

When I go into a house, I immediately start imagining myself living there. How does the house suit my lifestyle? What are the features that would make my life better? How does it make me feel? Can I picture this being my home? Where would my furniture fit?

The house I was showing is a wonderful house for imagination and emotion. It is open, sunny, warm, big windows, wonderful view, massive kitchen, well designed, with 1940's aesthetics. Walking through the front door, you immediately sense the possibilities for a range of buyers. An older couple could love it, a family with young kids, a family with teenagers, or a professional couple who love entertaining. It's a blank slate. I love it, and if I had $450,000, I'd make it mine.

So I was surprised and saddened when the people who came through only noticed the minor faults and not the potential. They saw a crack in the wall, not the family together around the tv. They saw dated tiles in the bathroom, not a barbeque on the deck. They saw peeling paint on the window sills, not the view through the window. They saw a messy yard, not a secret garden for a child's swing. They saw trees that needed pruning, not a shady spot for a hammock in summer.

Where is the romance?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I wouldn't refer to myself as a tramp, and yet I am not without a certain amount of experience when it comes to holiday flings. I've travelled around the world a lot, and it seems that travelling is a great time to get lucky. I think it's because I don't behave the same way when I am in another country where I don't know anyone. Something to do with inhibitions. I won't reveal how many different nationalities I have under my belt, but my friends are impressed by my research.

So, in my opinion, here are the top 3 nationalities for bedroom skills.

1. New Zealand. Fun, adventurous, skillful and enthusiastic.
2. Australian. Fun, adventurous, skillful and enthusiastic.
3. Scottish. Fun, skillful and enthusiastic.

Special mention: Dutch. Adventurous and skillful.

Bottom 3 nationalities.

1. German. Just...bad. Could use a few pointers from their Dutch neighbours.
2. Moroccan. Bit my bottom lip so much that it puffed up like a balloon, and I had to take a day off work the next day because I was too embarrassed to go out in public.
3. South African. Have a tendency to fall asleep at inappropriate moments (in my limited experience)

These are broad and sweeping cultural generalisations, and my personal opinion only. The Checklist always trumps nationality.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What happened next?

So, in the previous post, I was just about to kiss the Kiwi for the first time, and was rudely interrupted by loud cheering. After I blushed, I laughed. Then I explained to the bewildered Kiwi exactly why the entire crowd at the bar was cheering me on. The perfect moment was lost on the dance floor. We didn't kiss, and retreated to a dark corner.

What happened next was I broke one of my cardinal rules, and decided to take the Kiwi back to my hotel room before I had kissed him. If I am going to have a holiday fling, there are certain boxes I like to tick, which help somewhat to know beforehand if a man is going to be any good in bed. I've learned the hard way that it is barely worth taking your clothes off if the sex is going to be bad, so there are a couple of things I like to check first.

1. Eye contact. A man must be confident enough to look me in the eye and hold my gaze.
2. Conversation. If a man can't hold a conversation, forget it.
3. Mirroring. Very promising body language. Shows he's interested and paying attention.
4. Dancing. Good moves on the dance floor = good moves in the bedroom.
5. Kissing. I won't sleep with a man who can't kiss. This is usually an important check point for me, because I believe that kissing tells so much.

I should stick to this list a lot more rigidly than I sometimes do, as I have found it reasonably successful in the past. It's a fair indication only though, not a guarantee.

The Kiwi ticked four out of my five, which I thought was enough. So I took him home with me, whereupon he ticked the fifth. And sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth.

The next morning I got back on the bus with about a minute to spare before we left to go to the airport. And I smiled all the way home.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Kiwi story

For the sake of this story, I have to reveal my name. You'll find out why at the end. It's Nerida.

I was in New Zealand for a free Contiki Tour with a bunch of travel agents. Contiki Tours are reknowned for being a wild ride, and travel agents are renowned for always being up for a party. Put the two together, and it was non-stop madness.

We toured the North Island of New Zealand. Some of the highlights were going through an underground river in an inner-tube and seeing glow worms on the ceiling of the cave, jet boating on Lake Taupo, riding a cable-car up a mountain and a luge back down, and the thermal springs in Rotorua.

While we were in Rotorua, we went to a Maori hangi feast. A hangi is cooking food in a pit underground, covered with hot rocks for several hours. Along with the feast was a demonstration of all the Maori cultural activities, including the Haka, and the poi.

There was also a warrior contest, where they split the crowd and each half had a warrior to cheer for. Twenty drunk travel agents, all chanting the name of our warrior.

"An-na-ru! An-na-ru! An-na-ru!" Late that night, we went to the thermal baths to relax and unwind. The baths are outdoors, carved from the volcanic rocks. The night air was cool, and the water was warm. We lay back and watched the steam rise into the darkness.

The following night was our final night in New Zealand, and we spent it in Auckland. And this is where I met the Kiwi for the first time. In a crowded backpackers bar. At the bar. He looked at me, I smiled, and that was it. We hit it off instantly, and there were sparks flying. And apparently it was not only obvious to me, but also obvious to everyone else there, including my travel companions.

The Kiwi and I talked and flirted, and eventually moved away from the bar and onto the dance floor. Things were hotting up as we danced closer and closer. We were at that precious moment when our faces were getting closer and closer together and I knew we were about to kiss for the first time....

Then, I heard the crowd. The travel agents had recruited the rest of the patrons at the bar, who started chanting,
"Ne-ri-da! Ne-ri-da! Ne-ri-da!"

Lucky I'm adorable when I blush.


I started this blog just before the beginning of November, to participate in NaBloPoMo and to bring something new into my life.

I have loved it, but I'm on the verge of NaBloPoMoOLo - National Blog Posting Month Over Load. I started with the best of intentions, of joining groups, participating in discussions, visiting lots and lots of new blogs, and writing lots and lots of new comments. Phew! It didn't take long until those intentions fell by the wayside, suffering from the intrusion of my real (non-blogging) life. I am struggling to keep up.

The reason for my NaBloPoMoOLo is that I have found some brilliant blogs. And they all have new posts every single day. All the people on my blogroll have been added sinced the beginning of November, and they are not the professional bloggers that make a bazillion dollars for this. Not yet. Maybe one day we will be the new inner circle of superstar bloggers, and spend our bazillion dollars jetting around the world visiting each other. I know for starters, if I ever get sick, I'm going straight to wherever Killer is working, so he can be my nurse. And Radioactive Jam has a special secret connection with Hobart - RaJ, I'm still waiting for the details.

Urban Pedestrian and Stella Devine also deserve a special mention. The fact that I know you are reading inspires me put in a little extra effort.

Bring on December, and the chance to get to know and read more of you, at a more leisurely pace. I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Going to the polls

Do you want conservative A, or conservative B? Australia had an election today, and we have chosen conservative B. I am watching our former Prime Minister John Howard concede defeat on the television right now. He looks old. It's all pretty boring, as conservative politics usually are.

But elections don't have to be boring. For example, elections in Poland are downright fun. One night, dozing half asleep, I had the radio news on and a story came on about the Polish elections. The Poles going to the polls. Goodbye sleep, hello giggles.

The Opinion Poles. The Exit Poles. How are the Poles polling? The Poles are rising steadily in the polls. The polls are rising steadily in the Poles. The Polish polls are Polarised. The major parties are Poles apart.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blind date

I'm half-way through a long and lovely post, but I have to dash off for a slice of real life before I can finish it. It's Friday night in Hobart, no time for blogging.

So here is a *really* quick story.

Once I went on a blind date with a guy who only had one eye.

True. Blind date indeed!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cliche machine

I work as a real estate agent. Part of my job is writing the blurbs for property advertisements. This is a task which I had thought, before I started attempting it, that I would be quite good at. It turns out, I'm not yet. For some reason, when writing real estate, I turn into a cliche machine.

It's possible that because there are only so many words and ways to describe a house, everything that can possibly be said already has been. I scour the thesaurus, looking for alternatives to "spacious" or "comfortable" or "cosy" or "large". Even the alternatives are overused.

Another problem is that you are writing for the lowest common denominator, and you hit trouble if you deviate too far from common vocabulary. For example, my friend who is a well-educated and eloquent man, sent me a text message the other day after reading a competitor's ad in the Real Estate Guide. Charlotte's in fine form this weekend. What the fuck is a "timeless inglenook"?

I spend all afternoon trying to paint a picture with words, trying to sound original and enticing, and within 90-120 word count. It is a lot more difficult than I ever expected it would be.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The battle in me

The battle I fight almost every day is the battle between Night Me and Morning Me.

Take last night for example. I was out, playing poker, and Night Me says, "Woo hoo, it's fun to be out with my friends, pour another glass of wine." Morning Me says, "Just go easy. Don't stay out too late and don't drink to much, because we have an early meeting to go to and when the alarm clock goes off, I'll be sorry."

But Night Me doesn't care about the alarm clock the next day, because that is Morning Me's problem to deal with. And sure enough, Night Me wins the battle, drinks that little bit too much, and stays the extra hour. Then Morning Me wakes up the next day gasping for water, swiping for the alarm clock, and violently cursing Night Me.

Night Me doesn't care about going to the gym, or shopping for groceries, or ironing a shirt, or going to work. Night Me doesn't think about hangovers, or sleep deprivation. Those things are Morning Me's responsibility. Morning Me is the one who understands consequences, and who gets things done.

The battle is in the balance. It's a rare thing indeed to have Morning Me and Night Me satisfied at the same time, so I just work on balance. Each gets to win a battle every so often.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sushi Girl

Dear Girl In The Sushi Shop,

Do you really think that customer service in hospitality means talking in a high-pitched voice? Do you realise that everytime you go up at the end of a sentence with a question (soy, wasabi or ginger?) your voice stays up, and just keeps getting higher?

I heard you laugh when you were talking to your colleague. I know you have a real voice in there somewhere, and it sounds beautiful. Why do you insist on using a fake, high voice when you speak to your customers?

Everytime I order sushi, I hope you don't serve me. Simply because your "customer" voice grates on me the same way as nails on a chalkboard.

Dear Sushi Girl. Please talk normally. If you carry on like this, it won't be long before your voice is in the realm of the dog-whistle, and I won't be able to hear you at all.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wedding season

My colleague sighed and said, "I seem to be at the age when all my friends are getting divorced." "That's funny," I said. "I'm at the age when all my friends are getting married."

On our fridge at the moment are 6 wedding invitations. And that is not counting the two I have been to in the last 6 weeks. It's wedding season in Hobart.

I love weddings, and am prone to tears during the ceremony. I was at one wedding where I cried more than the bride's mother. She had to hand me a tissue.

The wedding I went to last Saturday night was excellent. Apart from the usual wedding pleasures of watching the joy on the faces of the bride and groom, drinking sparkling wine, eating a nice meal, getting to know the people on my table and laughing at the speeches, this wedding had the bonus of spotting some of the best (worst) haircuts in Hobart.

I spent the evening fantasising about taking the microphone to start the ceremony for the Best Hair Awards. Starting with the minor awards. Most Faded Perm, Most Colours on One Head, Most Skillful Application of a Hair-Stying Appliance, Best Moustache, Bushiest Eyebrows and Furthest Receded Hairline. Then moving on to the Major Achievements.

The Best Mullet goes to(envelope please)... The Best Man. In recognition of his full Billy Ray Cyrus, short up front with cascading curls down the back.
The Best Female Mullet goes to... The Best Man's Wife. A complementary version of small tight curls, with blonde highlights in the long back bit.
The Best Female Hairpiece goes to... The Old School Friend on Table 9. She told me in the toilets, "I got this for me wedding last year. Bloody cost me three hundred bucks, so I like to wear it whenever I can."
The I-Can't-Believe-The-80's-Are-Over Award goes to.... The DJ. We will be interviewing the DJ after the ceremony, to find out how he gets his hair so high and feathery.

It was a wonderful night, and I caught the bouquet!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunburnt and satisfied

This weekend was everything The Mercury promised, and more.

The highlight was the Anti-Pulp Mill Rally, which saw a crowd of 15,000 gather in the centre of Hobart, then march through the city centre. The people who came out to protest were united in opposition to an environmental disaster, and the corrupt political process which led to its approval. There were old people, young people, hippies, yuppies, and everyone in between. It made me feel proud that such a broad range of people stood up to be counted, and it's good for the politicians to see that it isn't just radical greenies that they are up against.

The march stretched for over 2 city blocks, and there were people, signs and banners for as far as I could see in both directions. I felt moved and uplifted.

In complete contrast, today I went to the cricket, and sat in the sun drinking beer all afternoon with 5,500 of my fellow Tasmanians. It was a perfect warm Spring day, not a cloud in the sky, and the Australian cricket team were in fine form. I am a bit sunburnt, rather tired, and utterly satisfied with this weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Painted toenails

I love having my toenails painted. I collect exciting new colours. I went through a stage where metallic turquoise was my favourite, and now the hottest colour is fire engine red.

It is hard to find the perfect red polish. It might look good in the bottle, but put it on and it comes out too light, or too dark, or too blue, or too orange. Cosmetics vendors tend to frown upon trying nailpolish on in the shop (especially on your toes) so I have a few bottles of sub-standard red.

I have now found the perfect red. The reddest of reds. Perfect for showing off in my strappy heels at the wedding. BUT - I am off the wedding with naked toes, because I sacrificed painting my toes in order to post today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Big Weekend

This is the front page headline on the local Hobart newspaper, The Mercury.

"On your marks, get set, go... for Tassie's biggest weekend of the year. You name it, it's happening. From Test Cricket to protest rallies, from V8 Supercars to Christmas Pageants, from the Point to Pinnacle to bingo championships. If you get bored this weekend, you are bored with life. ALL THE ACTION: Pages 4-6"

1. Point to Pinnacle. A 21km up-hill running race. Will not be attending.
2. Hobart Christmas Pageant. A parade down the main street. Will be attending.
3. Myer Grand Re-opening. This department store burned to the ground a few months ago, and is re-opening in a new building. I have a pair of sunglasses to return, but Will not be attending this weekend. Too crowded.
4. Second Cricket Test Australia vs Sri Lanka. Will be attending on Sunday (weather permitting)
5. The Wilderness Society Anti-Pulp Mill Rally. The pulp mill is a very bad thing. WILL BE ATTENDING.
6. Mercury Surf Safari. I don't know what this is, but it sounds watery. Will not be attending.
7. The Whitlams in concert. Classic Aussie band, tickets $28.50. Will not be attending.
8. Mark Webber Challenge. Spectator event as world class Aussie sports stars compete in physical challenges (cycling, running, kayaking etc) to raise money for charity. Will not be attending.
9. Boating and Leisure Expo. Will not be attending
10. V8 Supercars. Too far from my house. Will not be attending.
11. Tasmanian Bingo Championships. How do you have a Bingo Champion? Isn't it all luck? Will not be attending.
12. Huon Show. Horse Events from 8.30am, general show events from 9.00am. Will likely feature flower show, cake baking competitions, and dog show. Would love to (I like cakes), but will not be attending.
13. Comedian Peter Berner live. Tickets $34. Too expensive and too high-brow. Will not be attending.

So, of 13 events, I will be attending 3. That's 23%. But the Mercury forgot:
14. Linda and Jason's Wedding. My old flatmate weds the man of her dreams and the father of her child (same guy). Will be attending.

Which takes me to 28.5%. A good show, I feel. I am definitely not "bored with life", The Mercury.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

PJ and the miracle of modern technology

I used to have a best bud called PJ. He was an English backpacker I met on a camping tour from Adelaide to Ayers Rock, and we clicked from the moment we met. After hanging out for a couple of weeks in Alice Springs, our paths diverged, but we stayed in touch in the most old-fashioned and charming of ways. We wrote letters. On paper. With envelopes. And stamps.

I loved those letters. Reading them, I would laugh till I cried. Every afternoon I would get off the bus, and immediately start anticipating the possibility that a letter from PJ would be waiting for me in the mailbox when I got home. This idea so distracted me on the walk from the bus stop to my house that I forgot to keep an eye out for the nextdoor neighbour's dog. So many heart-attacks, as the dog would pounce, bark and growl at me through the fence.

He met and fell in love with an Australian girl (MG) on his travels, and together they moved back to the UK. Our letter-writing relationship continued, as that was what it was, a deep friendship based on brightly coloured paper and sparkly pens.

A few years later, I went to live in the UK, and I called PJ up. "Guess where I am!" I said.
PJ said, "Didn't you get my letter?"
"What letter?"
"Oh. Well, I can't really talk right now. Wait until you get the letter."

So the letter followed me back to the UK from Australia, and eventually I received it. It started as a typical gorgeous PJ letter, with a funny story about how he accidently wore a pair of pants to work that his mother was half-way through mending, and which were covered in giant pink stitches. 3 pages later, and "By the way, this is the last letter you will be receiving from me. I can't be your friend anymore. Every time I get a letter from you, MG and I have a huge fight. In fact, whenever we have a fight, it's about you. So it will be much easier if I just don't contact you anymore, and save all the stress and arguments. I'm sorry."

That was that. I was devastated. I lost my best friend. I missed him and his letters like crazy. Every couple of years I tried to ring him to see if we could ever be in contact again. I wasn't ever ringing to see if he'd broken up with her, I only wanted to see if the waters had calmed over time. But the 2 or 3 times I got hold of him on the phone, he was with MG and understandably couldn't really speak to me, but it was quite apparent that the situation was as volatile as ever.

So this year, I got the timely itch to try and contact PJ again. 10 years on now, and I still miss him. Only now, there is the miracle of modern technology. Namely..... google!

I googled him. Found an email address, and sent a tentative email. Joy of joys, he responded! And we are tentatively back in touch. It's wonderful. He's not really supposed to, but every so often he shoots me a electronic snippet. The emails are a bit easier to read than his handwriting, and every bit as full of humour and warmth as the old letters.

And I laugh till I cry.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Poker night

I am off to play poker, as I regularly do on Wednesday evenings. It is a wonderful game, and I am an absolute novice at it, which means I'm crap, and I never win. Well, I haven't so far. My strategy is to bide my time, learning the moves and styles of the other players, ready to take them down when they least expect it. I play with a regular group, and we have a $10 buy-in, which I consider to be a small investment for an evening's entertainment. Cheaper than a movie ticket, and lasts longer.

I also love golf, and I am rubbish at that too. It's another activity where the good bits outweigh my lack of skill. The good bits are the pleasure of walking around a beautiful course, spending a couple of hours with my friends, fresh air, sunshine and exercise.

Scrabble is one game that I love and I am actually quite good at. Unlike poker and golf, however, I have discovered it is extremely difficult to socialise while playing Scrabble. The level of concentration is too high to chat. I just got a new Scrabble set, which has a built-in rotating base underneath, and plastic ridges to keep the tiles in place on top. Deluxe!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pony tales

I'm tagged for a meme by Stella Devine. (thank you kindly, Stella, for the blogging material)
Now I share 7 random and/or weird facts about myself.

7 Things you didn't know... about my hair

1. I was blonde when I met the Kiwi.
2. I'm not blonde anymore, and the Kiwi hasn't seen me un-blonde.
3. My legs weren't shaved when I met the Kiwi. (isn't it always the way? I can't remember if I was wearing giant unsexy undies, but it seems likely)
4. I've paid over $200 for a haircut.
5. I've also paid 1 cent plus postage for a hair straightner from China on eBay.
6. I used to have blue hair. Electric blue. People probably looked at me and thought, "Oh, her poor mother."
(I asked my mother about it years down the track, and she thought it was a good thing. She was happy that I was expressing myself. I've got a cool mum.)
7. I shaved my head (one summer in Paris) to see what it was like, and loved it so much I kept it shaved for 12 months. Noone sat next to me on buses, but it didn't hurt my sex life.

I'm supposed to tag 7 random people at the end of this post, and include links to their blogs, but I'm not going to. If anyone would like to take this meme and run with it, please do. Especially my regular comment buddies. (appreciate you guys!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Generation gap

I have officially crossed over the generation gap, and at 33, am officially old. This is how I know.

I saw 2 young pretty girls in the shopping mall, probably about 16 or 17. They both had long black hair, fair skin, and gothic clothes. Walking closer to them, I noticed that they both had piercings in their lower lips, that had 3 big, vicious-looking spikes poking out, and my first thought was, "Oh, their poor mother."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The bells! The bells!

This is the first Sunday morning that I haven't been woken at 9.00am sharp by the church bells across the road from my house. I thought it would be a blessed relief, as normally the bells reverberate around my hungover skull, and keep me suffering for an hour when I could be painlessly sleeping off a big Saturday night.

One morning fairly recently, it wasn't the bells that woke me up, but a persistent engine sound, following by loud banging at my front door. I'm a fairly heavy sleeper, so it took a little time for me to come to consciousness. I checked my watch, and saw that it was 5.15am. "That can't be good news," I thought. "If it was any of my friends, they have my phone number." I checked my phone, but it was blank too. I decided that I didn't want to answer the door to bad news, so I ignored the banging. Apparently both of my flatmates reached the same conclusion, because neither of them got up either.

I tried to go back to sleep, but slipped in and out of dozing as I could still hear the engine and the occasional knocking. At some stage, curiousity overcame sleepiness, and I peeked out the window. The street in front of our house was blocked full of fire engines and police cars. It turned out that someone had tried to burn the church down!

Let me just say that 5.45am is not the time I want to be confronted by firemen and policemen at the front door, as I don't look my best at that time of the morning. I hoped my giant, fuzzy, orange dressing gown and touselled hair made me look adorable rather than frightening, and opened the door. They only wanted to know if I had seen anything suspicious, which I hadn't, so the conversation was thankfully brief.

It turned out that the fire only damaged the old wooden doors of the church, and now, a few months later, it has closed those doors permanantly. It's a beautiful building which is crumbling away, and the church doesn't have the money to repair it. It has famous bells, but the tower is too structurally unsound to be able to ring them anymore.

But I must say, this morning I kind of missed the bells. I was awake anyway, and not hungover for a change, and it was quiet. And a bit sad.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kids these days

I went out last night to see one of my favourite local pub bands. They play original 50's rock and roll. I love it because the music is happy music. It makes me smile, and I can't stop dancing.

I was outside having a cig, chatting to a fellow fan, and talking about kids these days. She works in a record shop, and has an endless supply of funny stories about teenagers and their seach for coolness. Honestly, if you are a kid these days, and you want to get into music, you have a lot to catch up on. But they seem to be skipping the basics in building their knowledge.

Right on cue, a gang of kids these days walked by. They said, "Are you into this rockabilly shit?" as they heard the electric guitar, piano, bass and drums from inside the pub. We said, "This isn't rockabilly shit. This is rock and roll."
KTD: What do you mean by rock and roll? We love Guns 'n' Roses and the Doors. They rock.
Us: This music is from before Guns 'n' Roses and the Doors.
KTD: ...?...
Us: You know, old 50's style rock and roll? People like Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.
KTD: Who's Chuck Berry?"
Us: ...?...
KTD: What other people would we know about?
Us: Elvis?
KTD: Elvis? I wouldn't call him the king of rock and roll!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Too Silly To Travel

I went out for a drink last night with Balcony Boy, also know as "What have you been up to?". Simply because I wanted to know what he's been up to.

He's surprisingly just done something interesting and been to China. I was impressed. Until he started complaining about his travel agent, which pressed all the wrong buttons in me, because I used to be a travel agent. One of the major reasons I left the job was because I became irritable, bitter and intolerant.

No matter how much you do, it's never enough for some people. There is no human way to satisfy 100% of the people 100% of the time. It's the ones where you miss the smallest morsel of information that make a travel agent's life hell.

Take Balcony Boy for example. His complaint was that the visa application process went badly. He listed his profession as "film-maker", then was surprised that alarm bells rang in the Chinese Consulate. He felt that it was his travel agent's responsibility to warn him about things like that. He thought it was reasonable that when anyone goes into an agency to book a ticket to China, a prompt should pop up on the computer screen that says, "Please advise passenger not to list their profession as film-maker on the visa application form".

In my opinion, if you can't handle the simple task of filling in a visa form on your own, should you be leaving the country? If you lack the ability to do very basic research into the country you are about to visit, should you be going there?

The issue is the grey area between what should be the travel agent's responsibility, and at what point should a traveller be able to look after themselves?

To be fair to naive travellers, you can expect your travel agent will be able to help you with most things. However, because they are not psychic, it is your responsibility to ask for help. Otherwise it may be assumed that you know more than you do. For example, I once assumed that a person who wanted to go overseas would know that they needed a passport to travel and I didn't need to mention it. I was wrong.

Oh yes, I made the right decision when I walked away from this profession. I had started to fantasise that I had a big red stamp that said Too Silly To Travel, and the authority to apply it at my will.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Kiwi and JT

Kiwi: Did I tell you I'm going to see Justin Timberlake in Auckland?
Me: I didn't know you are a JT fan.
Kiwi: Yeah, big time. I'm getting a t-shirt made.
Me: What's on the shirt?
Kiwi: "With me, sexy never left"

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The champagne incident

Alternative title, "No news on the Kiwi."

I achieved a milestone at work recently, and Miss Q, one of my beloved flatmates, celebrated by bringing home 2 bottles of champagne for me. I was extra happy, because my boss also gave me a special bottle of champagne, which I proudly put in the fridge for a quieter moment.

Miss Q and I went out that night, and drank the 2 bottles between us. She carried on long after I was in bed. The next morning I was having breakfast with Miss P, when we heard quiet (and multiple) footsteps creeping down the stairs. A sleepy Miss Q was trying to sneak a dishevelled boy out the front door, and they were sprung.

With a blush and a rush, she said, "Girls, this is Doggie. Doggie, these are the girls. Ok bye." And the front door clicked behind the hastily retreating Doggie.

Q came into the kitchen sheepishly, where P and I were doubled over in a fit of giggles. "Um..." she said. "I think we drank someone's bottle last night."

Of all the bottles of wine we have in the house, inevitably she had chosen the special one from my boss. I would not have cared if they drank the house dry, but that one meant something to me. It wasn't the value of the bottle that bothered me, it was the value of the sentiment.

It was awful. She felt guilty and sorry, and I felt guilty and sorry for making her feel guilty and sorry.

In the end, it was easily fixed. Bottle replaced, apologies made, and cuddles enjoyed. It was one of those situations that I wish never happened, but when I think about it, it seems obvious, and I shouldn't have been surprised. If there is one thing in the house you shouldn't touch, of course that is going to be the only thing you want. The forbidden item has an undetectable yet irresistible attraction.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The race that stops a nation

I don't even live in Melbourne, but I am wearing a skirt, heels, and a fancy hat. Which is great, because I won a bottle of bubbley for the best hat in the office. And we stopped work for an hour to watch a horse race and drink and nibble. How am I supposed to get any work done this afternoon? Thank you, Melbourne Cup.

I had a flutter, without success. That's $7 I'll never see again.

Another benefit of being slightly lubricated with chilled white is that I managed to figure out how to change the settings on this blog so it shows the date and time as it actually is in my local area, which will make it easier for posting everyday for NaBloPoMo when it shows up the right time.

My computing style is just to keep pushing buttons until something works out. I am not a good one for following instructions or tutorials, it suits me better to figure things out my own way. Experimental. It does somewhat limit my capabilities, but it suits me. I feel like I am just keeping up with the wave of technology. My mum admitted that it has officially drowned her. She's out. She's given up on keeping up.

For myself, I am at the age where I can just cope. Kids these days take it all for granted, but the latest technology still amazes me.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The flatmates

I have lived with some nutters in my time. There was the self-destructive alcoholic, who used to deliberately provoke the other guys in the house to punch him in the face. There was the laundry fetishist, who would take my wet clothes out of the dryer and fling them all over the kitchen. There was the phone-line-sex-chat addict, who spent $960 in a week talking to "lovely ladies". There was the heavy sleeper, who would sleep through the most piercing of alarm clocks, and could sit up and talk, or answer the phone without recollection, while still in the deepest of sleeps. I would have to wake her every morning by physically lifting her out of bed and walking her around the room a few laps until she woke up, and I was scared every single time. There was the marine biologist, who kept her scientific samples, both alive and dead, in our fridge.

But now I am the luckiest girl in Hobart, as I have the best flatmates. Miss P and Miss Q. Hands down, no contest. I love them dearly, and I love living with them. There are several factors that contribute to our blissful arrangement. For starters, we live in a large house. We have a dishwasher. We have several tv's, and 2 bathrooms. These things relieve the minor points of contention, such as whose turn it is to buy the toilet paper. I am way too old for that argument.

But in the larger sense, we are just very compatible. Similar personalities, similar points in life, similar values, similar lifestyles and interests. I know it sounds corny, I know it sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is. But it's gold when you find it.

Of course we have tiffs. They mostly consist of one of us (usually me) getting cranky by being woken up at 3am in the morning by some impromtu party. Yet I find the crankiness subsides so quickly when it comes with a heartfelt apology.

Before I moved into my current house, I lived by myself and loved it. I thought I would never be able to live in a share house again. But now I find my home life is even better than when I lived alone. Both the flatmates travel very regularly for work so are away a fair bit. To my very great surprise, I miss them when they're away. I thought I would be grateful for the peace and space, but it is the opposite. The house feels more like a home when they are in it.

P and Q, you are the best.

Canned Soup Date Guy

I do try and say yes to dates. I get out and about, dinner sometimes, drinks sometimes, coffee sometimes. What could possibly go wrong?

Late one Friday night, I gave my phone number to a guy in a pub, just because he asked. My drunk friends squinted through red, slitty eyes and said, "He looks ok".

He left a message for me on the next Sunday morning, while I was away for the weekend. I drove a couple of hours back home, had a nap, had a coffee with my flatmates, and eventually, called him back late that afternoon. *Ding Ding Ding* Alarm bell number 1. "Oh N, I'm so glad you called me back. I've been waiting by the phone for you to ring ALL DAY LONG." This turned out to be another lesson learned the hard way, as when he said, "What are you doing now? Come around and I'll cook you dinner" I thought it sounded like a reasonable idea.

I arrived at his house. Through the door, tripping over the piles of detritus all the way up the hall, into the kitchen which had piles of dirty dishes in the sink, including a greasey fry-pan containing half a congealed egg. There were 2 cats and 2 dogs climbing all over everything, and messy bowls of overflowing pet food. *Ding Ding Ding*

It's funny how at moments like this, my natural wish to "be polite" overrides my actual inclination to run screaming. Why did I stay? I do prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I think I just wanted to see what happened next. So here it is.

We went into the living room, which was full of dirty ashtrays, used plates, tatty magazines, and the sort of rubbish I hadn't seen since my student days when I lived in a 3 bedroom house with 7 people. *Ding Ding Ding* His flatmate came home, a female pipe-smoking beat poet, fresh from a recital. He left us to get acquainted while he went to the kitchen to whip up the dinner.

Canned Cream of Mushroom Soup. With white bread toast, and NO BUTTER! *Ding Ding Ding*

The final nail in this coffin was the conversation. He wasn't interested in me talking at all, which was probably pretty lucky, since I was fairly dumbstruck. Most of his sentences started with, "Hmm, now what else can I tell you about myself?" Yet when I made a funny comment, he said, "I love the way you talk, it really tickles me." I said, "Oh, I thought it was because I'm so pretty, ha ha."

He said, "'re no classic beauty. You're no runway model..."

That was it. I have no idea what he said next, because I stopped listening. You can invite me into your grotty house. I can eat canned soup, even toast with NO BUTTER. But tell me I'm no classic beauty, and THAT is the last straw. I made my excuses and left. The whole thing was over in an hour and a half, and I drove home laughing all the way.

Post Script 1. The next morning, the first thing I thought when I woke up was, "He has a closed mouth smile. He crushed his toast into the soup until it was soggy. Maybe the reason we had soup is because he has no front teeth."

Post Script 2. I ran into him out one night, and he had a new girlfriend. She was NO runway model.

Post Script 3. I ran into him a few weeks later. No girlfriend. He said, "Oh N, letting you go was the biggest mistake I ever made, I can't believe I let you get away. I'm so sorry, please give me your number again" as he tried to stick his tongue in my ear. I said, "You know where you went wrong? With the CANNED SOUP! You don't get to ring me."

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I am keeping myself busy and entertained. This weekend it is a trip to Sydney to visit the folks, and I am just about to depart to the Blue Mountains. Due to extremely dodgy wireless connection, this entry is a sneak preview of juicy bits to come. Some titles you can expect in the next month.
1. A kitchen full of lesbians-in-tears
2. The champagne incident
3. The party house
4. PJ and the miracle of modern technology
5. Canned Soup Date Guy
6. The bells, the bells!

I will be back home in Hobart tomorrow night, and will get this NaBloPoMoShow back on the road.
I am writing this on Saturday morning, but due to Australia being ahead of the world the date is showing as 2 Nov. I am keeping to the rules, I promise!

Two phonecalls in a week

The Kiwi has called me twice this week. He's funny and warm on the phone, and I am always happy to talk to him. He says, "I can only talk for 20 minutes, this is going to cost me a fortune" and 45 minutes later, we are still engrossed.

This is the second conversation we have had since he said the "L" word, and neither of us was mentioning it. About 50 minutes in he ventured, "So, this is the second time we've talked since I sent that text last week, which was a bit..."
"Controversial?" I said.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Do you?"

I know this makes me sound very passive in the whole affair. It is simply a self-preservation device. After the (dramatic) break-up of our relationship, my heart was broken and hardened. I can't allow myself to jump in with my emotions again, after what seemed so right at first went so horribly wrong. And because it did go horribly wrong, with him, I am proceeding carefully. I'm allowing him to lead, to see if I want to follow.

Almost three years later, it is becoming obvious that there is something irresistible between us. It is going well. And yet my heart is in shut-down mode, until I see him again. This is the test, and he knows it. If there IS something worth pursuing, it is up to him to jump on a plane and come to me. Whether he will or not is exactly what this blog is about. But what I do know for sure is that he doesn't get any of me until he does. That is the first step, if there is a step to be made.

All roads lead to Hobart, my Kiwi. If you want me, you know where I am.

Friday, November 2, 2007


I am reading the Year Of Yes by Maria Headley at the moment. That, combined with my last blog entry, has led me to a theme of bad-date stories. None of which are about the Kiwi, please note. The night I met him was incredible, and a whole other story. I have a few more bad-date stories before I get on to the good ones - just like Maria. So this one is about a recent (young) lover, henceforth referred to as Gary-Go-Home.

I ditched him as soon as I discovered that he was only able to communicate by text message. I met him in a nightclub at the end of an extremely drunken night. My only defence is that he was pretty cute. I think. It was one of those nights. He asked for my phone number, and it is a miracle that I managed to get the digits in the right order.

Geography meant that this fling started at distance, and via text message. He was ok by text. He did ring me a few times, and was bad at talking on the phone, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and put it down to nerves. Inevitably we agreed to meet again, and alcohol was involved once again, so one thing led to another until:

GGH: Sorry hun, i'll msg u tomoro ok. i feel really bad x
N: What? Have you left?
GGH: yep. i feel terrible. thought you were crabby with me
N: Seriously... what? I went outside for a cig.
GGH: i didn't know that, i thought you were shitty. sorry i blew early i have just been that toey all day for you
N: I'm sorry you thought that. Oh well.
GGH: did u think i was any good?
N: You're obviously 20. I don't know if that answers the question. What do you think?
GGH: is that a yes? haha
N: It's not a yes...
GGH: you don't think i'm any good?
N: Why do you want to know?
GGH: na it doesn't matter. i just blew my load too quick hay lol
N: Actually, it has nothing to do with when you blew.
GGH: what was it to do with?
N: Too long an answer for a text!
GGH: lol ok

Lesson learned from Gary-Go-Home:
A cigarette can be more satisfying and last longer than a bad shag.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

what have you been up to?

The Kiwi and I have both been seeing other people in the last 3 years. A while ago I was under the impression that I was dating this guy. A couple of things lead me to reach this conclusion. There was the kissing, the phone calls, and the fact that he wanted to see me at least 3 times a week, he offered to help me move house… you can see how I was mistaken. Anyway, one night he was around at my house for dinner(which he invited himself for btw), and just casually mentioned that he had a new girlfriend who lives in Melbourne. I was like, “Oh.”

I thought, well, at least he is funny and smart and entertaining, we can still hang out and be friends. Once again though, I was mistaken. Not about him still wanting to be friends with me (duh, who wouldn’t, I’m loads of fun!) but about him being funny and entertaining. Turned out he was an egomaniac with a superiority complex. I invited him to a house party at mine, where he proceeded to turn up WITH HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND and without telling me he was bringing her. All my other friends said, “Who is that pair of miserable assholes?” as they moped around trying to pretend that they were cooler than everyone else, when it became quite apparent that they were the only ones not having any fun.

Besides that, he would try little sneaky criticisms of my behaviour and personality, not that I ever let him get away with any of it. It was weird, because he behaved like he didn’t like me at all, and yet he still wanted to see me all the time. But it quickly became apparent to me that I had to stop seeing completely, because it was too much hard work for absolutely no reward. No room for charity, I have heaps of friends who are actually fun and happy and like me. I guess he must have reached the same conclusion, because he phased me out before I had the chance to phase him out. The cheek!

All of this was a few months ago. About 6 weeks ago, my phone rang, and it was him. I just missed the call, so I sent him a text message that said “you rang?” No response. Until I was back at my old job last week clearing out my email inbox, and there was an email there from him. It said, yes, I rang, “sorry, I got sidetracked.” (sidetracked for 5 weeks mind you). So I rang him back, just to let him know that I wasn’t working at that job anymore, and he asked me what I've been up to? I said, "I’ve started a new career, left the old job, completed my new job training course, sat the qualification exam, got a new flatmate, got a new car, been to Melbourne, been to Launceston, been to Thailand, seen this band, seen that band, gone to a Ball….what have you been up to?" He said, “Not much.. um... I changed the logo on my company to pink…”. I could only smirk.

The clincher is of course that on Monday I ran into him, and the horse-faced girlfriend walking down the street. I said, how was your weekend? He said, oh, we’ve just been watching dvds all weekend. Which gave me the perfect opportunity to really emphasise my point – “Well, I’ve just been in Adelaide for a work conference/awards night with my new company.” I was trying very hard not to take a leaf out of his book and feel superior, but…

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Virtue is its own reward?

I was cleaning up my bedroom yesterday and I found a long-forgotten cheque for $325.00. I also found 6 safety pins, 2 buttons (origin unidentified), a stapler with no staples, a calculator, a lipstick, a recipe for lemon curd, a wine bottle cork, my camera case, my sunglasses case, headphones, and 8 pens.

I thought the cheque was exciting, and then when I found a box of staples, I thought all my Christmasses had come at once!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Red and sweaty

I just joined a new gym, as my first step towards Operation Kiwi-Ready. I need some serious improvement before I am ready to be seen naked by someone I care about.

I’ve had many a struggle with gym memberships. My first foray was at Fernwood, a gym for [overweight, middle-aged] ladies only, and certainly not my cup of tea. Their services may have been slack, but their contract writers certainly weren’t. It was harder to leave there than my bed on a Monday morning.

Second attempt, the young and hip gym at the Aquatic Centre. The drawback here was that I felt like a red, sweaty elephant in the midst of serial gym junkies who had tiny,taut bodies and the outfits to match. It was crowded and the popularity generated too much demand for a treadmill or an inch of space on the aerobics floor.

The locker rooms at this gym were like no other I have ever visited. I understand there is a set of keen exercisers who are not shy about showing their bodies in the raw, but nudity at the Aquatic Centre was endemic. And not just walking to and from the showers, but full leg-up-on-chair-with-vigorous-towel-drying action.

I have cultivated my skills of getting dressed and undressed while holding a towel around myself for full coverage and to avoid unfortunate flashes to casual observers. However, this leads to strange physical contortions and getting dressed takes 3 times longer than necessary. I decided that it would much quicker to put on my bra if I dropped the towel, and embarked on weeks and weeks of internal pep-talks to persuade myself into it. “No-one’s really looking, no-one really cares, your boobs aren’t that interesting anyway, come on, everyone else is doing it, be brave, you don’t know any of these people anyway.”

At last I was ready. My towel and I would take the plunge. There I was in the locker room, inhaling deeply, and waiting for the exact moment that everyone else’s eyes were averted. Ready, on one….. two…... thr “Hey!” shouted a voice across the room. “I thought that was you. Fancy seeing you here!” And all eyes were on me as I turned to face my former work colleague. I never did drop the towel that day, or ever since.

Monday, October 15, 2007

the countdown has begun

When I said I was starting this blog as a catalyst for a change, I have no idea it would happen so fast. The Kiwi doesn't know that I am writing this, and yet I must have sent a butterfly wing-flap in his direction. Over the weekend, I received an unusual text message from him. It was unusual for 2 reasons. The first one is that it was spelled correctly. The second reason was that it said, "I love you." That was the first time he has ever said that to me.

My first reaction was that he must have sent it to the wrong person. It took me half an hour to decide what to reply. In the end I settled on simply, "Wow!" His reply confirmed that it was meant for me and said, "I know, I also know you love me too."

What this means is that it is looking more and more likely that the Kiwi will actually come good on his threat to turn up on my doorstep, which means that I need to get serious about getting Kiwi-ready. The countdown has begun... for real!
I'm going to be blogging every day in November, and it will be an interesting ride.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spelling - is it a deal-breaker?

The Kiwi and I would never have got together in the first place if spelling was a deal-breaker for me. When I say he can't spell, I mean he really takes bad spelling to new lows. So much so, that his very first email to me led me to comment, "Even a monkey bashing away at a keyboard would accidently spell a couple of words correctly EVENTUALLY."

I do pride myself on my spelling ability, so it was unfortunate for my sensibilities to get involved in a long-distance relationship which requires a great deal more of the written word than a local affair. Emails and text messages. A high proportion of both of which from him begin with, "Hay you". When New Zealand got knocked out of the rugby world cup, he was in morning.

I quite often imagine his struggles with predictive text, cursing it for not recognising the words he is trying to imput. "Stupid thing doesn't work!"

But with the charm of his intentions, somehow I manage to find his disastrous spelling endearing. And apparently for me, spelling is not a deal-breaker.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

the story so far...

I'm in a rut. Bobbing along like a half-inflated balloon. Sometimes the breeze catches me and I feel like I'm flying high, but then gravity pulls me down again. What I am looking for is a helium hit. I want to pump myself up and bounce up, up and away.

So, the purpose of this blog is to start a change. This is the first step.

The topic I have chosen is the story of the Kiwi, who has just popped back into the picture. Well, so he says...

About 2 years ago, I was in New Zealand. It might have been 3 years, but I can barely entertain the idea that it has been that long! I met a lovely New Zealand boy in a bar one night, and one thing led to another, as it does when a footloose, fancy free person is out of their country. Nothing original in that. What made it interesting was that this Kiwi and I stayed in touch. A few emails led to a hot and heavy phone affair, which led to another visit to New Zealand by me. There will be more details of this saga to come later, but for now it is enough to say that things went drastically pear-shaped during this trip, and that was the end of the affair.

Or so I thought.

This Kiwi is one tenacious caller, and despite my repeated attempts to sever the ties, he never let me. We have been in touch, on and off, ever since.

He has had at least 3 serious girlfriends since me, but they have all failed. The lastest relationship is also dying, and now he seems to be entertaining the idea of exploring the length and breadth of our indefinable relationship once and for all.

The following blog will be the continuing story (and occasional historic flashbacks) of what happens now in my life, with or without him.