December 31, 2013

Exhaustion

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

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

Here are a few pictures of life lately.  

A muggy grey sky.


A dog's domain.


A picnic in the bush with a friend.


Where we found this old beauty.


Lots of gravitating towards the lake.


Beer and almonds on a hot day in Collingwood.


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

December 9, 2013

Spring didn't spring really

It's summer now, but apart from a handful of randomly hot days, it's just not happening like normal.  Usually, by this time of year we're well and truly unfurled in the warmth, like so many little flowers.  And soon we should be cursing the heat and loitering, hassled, around whatever form of cooling we can afford.  Not so.  It is still rainy and cold.  And I wont lie to you.  It's depressing.  I'm really over this rubbish weather and we're making plans to move 'up north'.  It's about time for a large scale adventure anyway.

Here are a few photos from this spring.  Do not be fooled by my photos.  It was not this sunny most of the time.

We travel back to the old hood to get our hair cut because we haven't found a hairdresser that we really like here in Ballarat.  In Collingwood there's a hairdresser we trust whose name is Jens.  And so now getting a haircut is known as 'getting a Jens' in our house.  The reason I'm telling you that, is to explain that the next photo was taken on Gertrude Street (Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia) when we were last getting a Jens.


The canola fields around the Hepburn Shire looked pretty ace when they were blooming a while back.  


I choose to interpret this graffiti as a clever commentary on the pitfalls of locating your sense of self in your appearance.


This is the facade of what was formerly the Ballarat Coffee Palace (a palace for coffee, imagine that?!) during colonial times and what is now a boarding house for the poor, lonely, abusive and abused.


These were delicious cocktails, had at Cookie (Melbourne, Australia).


This is Cookie.  The bartenders here tend to be smug and unlikeable.


One night I stayed at my Nan's house, and this is a snapshot of the bedroom that my Mum and my uncle grew up in.  Support anti-vivisection people!


We went away for the weekend to Echuca, where it's warmer and dustier than Ballarat.  This was the Barmah Anglican Church.


That's a strawberry milkshake being had.


This is the Barmah Forest.  It was very beautiful there.  We were alone in the bush with our salad rolls and it was pulsating with heat and energy.  Like the bush in Australia does sometimes.  There are some places we go to where I feel like I can sense the Indigenous people that have lived there.  And this is one of them.  So I'd like to give a shout out to the Yorta Yorta people for letting us enjoy the land that they have been custodians of for thousands of years.


A farm on the edge of the forest.


Echuca is an interesting town I think.  Like in Ballarat, the colonial architecture is still very visible.  Colonial architecture gives me mixed emotions these days.  I feel a sense of sentimentality because colonisation eventually led my family to this beautiful country.  But I also understand what colonising has meant for the Aboriginal people.  This is a pub in Echuca.


And these are our feet on the cracked earth.  With a bit of bird poo for good measure.


I have spent most of today watching interviews with Sia Furler on YouTube, because that's what you do with days off work.  She is a real gem.  Very Australian sort of chick.  Here she is.




December 8, 2013

A musical ode to moody brunettes cos I am one and always will be

Something about grungy brunettes refusing to be graceful (in the Swan Lake way) and easily palatable hits the spot for me.  So much.  Hazarding a guess, it might have something to do with being the tom boy brunette sister of two blondes obsessed with classical ballet.  So this is a musical shout-out to some of the chicks who have been fuelling my indignation for years now.

Thanks Veruca Salt.


Thanks Magic Dirt.


Thanks Little Birdy.


Thanks Tegan and Sara.


Thanks Yeah Yeah Yeahs.


October 7, 2013

Last week

The last week has been about learning and domesticity for me.  I work with some ridiculously generous women.  They're always bringing beautiful edible things that they've made, grown or baked in to the office.  One of my colleagues has an awful habit of baking for us whenever she's stressed and since our work can be intense, she's stressed pretty often.  

Lately I've been feeling guilty that I don't contribute food-wise and so I've decided to become an amazing baker.  But before I proudly place my wares on the lunch room table, I want to feel at least semi-confident that my offering will inspire awe instead of politeness.  So I've been practicing.  These brownies with white chocolate chunks are #2 of my recent forays in to the baking world.  They may not be pretty, but they tasted very good.  (It's a bit confronting realising how much crap goes in to sweets though isn't it?)


The other project going on at our place is Operation Green to the Max, which involves acquiring as many plants for our flat as possible.  We want to grow vegetables and herbs among other things, which is a bit challenging with only a balcony.

I don't have a straightforwardly good relationship with gardening. When I was a kid I would stay with my Nan on school holidays and potter around in her greenhouse trying to propagate plants.  I would lovingly fuss over my cuttings for hours each day... relentlessly pouring water, sprinkling plant food, potting, re-potting and giving them names.  They would all be dead within about 2 days, probably because I wouldn't leave them alone, and since I was a kid I have had many (many) more plants die at my hand.  I want so much to be a good gardener, but I'm pretty sure I have a plant killing curse.  We'll see.

This is our new bathroom plant.  It has thick soft leaves with white edges and it swivels around as the sun moves.


This is a future mojito.


That's a cactus who looks like a pin cushion and a beautiful silver leafed plant that is my new favourite.


This is a picture of my blazer collection (the rack on the right).  I have upwards of twenty blazers.  That's a normal amount right?


This was the sunset that we saw from our balcony a few nights ago.


This was the day the sky was blue last week.   


And finally, I made three trips to Melbourne this week.  Two to expand my mind and one to buy myself trinkets and drink cocktails with my sisters.  These are all pictures from the train.













September 23, 2013

Gauntlet

I am running the assignment gauntlet right now.  I get my academic flow on by avoiding, stressing, feeling guilty and punching essays out stream of consciousness style at the last possible moment.  It's all very healthy.

While I sweat it out, please enjoy this excellent song.


I really love that cover art.  It's scary and grotesque in a good way.  

September 16, 2013

Getting by

It's been a stressful couple of weeks at our house.  Things piling up and a return to wintery weather has led to some hard core grumpiness and head clutter. Here are some photos that I took a couple of weeks ago when it suddenly became spring.  I will stare at these longlingly while I clutch a hot water bottle to my chest and feel unhappy that I smell like rubber.









Recently Australia elected a conservative Prime Minister who has placed only one woman in his entire cabinet.  He does not support gay marriage.  He has vowed to undo the work done to address climate change by the previous government, because he doesn't believe that climate change exists.  And, he has promised to 'stop the boats'.  That means turning refugees travelling by boat away from Australia using the Australian Navy.  If refugees land here we are bound by the United Nations Refugee Convention to offer them asylum, so he's figured out a clever way to avoid being inhumane.  Right?  This is a cartoon that Alex drew of him.


This is a drawing of the other guy who was running in the election.  He is a controlling nerd who used to be quite principled.  Now he's conservative too and also likes to pick on traumatised refugees.


We went away camping with some friends on polling day.  Nobody wanted to listen to the news because we knew that the (more) conservative party would win.  There was talk of staying in the bush for the next three years until it's all over.


Anyway, we're going to swim laps at the pool, cook nice things and set aside time to do things we love to shake off these blues.  It'll work.  It always does.  These rosemary cookies I made last night turned out real nice.



Here's an oldie goodie for y'all.