Wednesday, December 29, 2004

did I read right? did France really pledge $177,000 for the tsunami victims? surely there's a decimal point missing?

what is wrong with the world? and it was French India that was hit too. other nations have been similarly miserly, I'm just picking on the French. And yes, I have donated, since you ask. have you?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

if you go to the end of the article, you'll see that the husband is 60, and had a vasectomy reversal so they could try for children.

as an infertility survivor, I have a view on this. for all her high-powered, Harvard-educated life, she wanted babies. and badly enough to squeeze two (fertile) lovers into her life. she'd deny it, of course. but motivation is a funny thing.
updates? you want updates?

how's this: we're not in Hong Kong any more. we're in Melbourne, where my life is currently filled with hospitals and doctors. although this is clearly a life-altering experience, I feel strangely disinclined to blog it.

instead, let me ask: How did she do it?

She was over 40. Publishing a major newspaper. Newly married to the publisher of a major, glamorous, fashion magazine (who, I have to note, probably has a range of young totty, as they call it in the UK, to choose from). And she not only managed to have an affair with the British Home Secretary, but also with a columnist on her paper. As if that wasn't enough, she had a child at, what? 42? and kept going. Kept going, in fact, to the extent that she is pregnant again at 44 with no clarity on exactly who the father is this time. Meanwhile, the husband sticks to her like glue instead of running off with Claire Daines or someone.

I am humbled. I'm only 38 and I can barely cope with one child and a bit of a medical issue. I am not working, and not planning to until this is over. I'm not even attempting to be anything other than dressed and occasionally upright (a condition I referred to as "horizontal" this morning). whatever she's on, I want some of it.

Monday, November 01, 2004

channel 7 are annoying me by going onandonandon about Makybe Diva and Vinnie Roe doing the old one-two at the Cup.

whereas, even though I queued for 15 minutes to bet on the winner ($2 each way, woo hoo), I want to know about #3, Zazzman, on whom I put $5 to win and $1 to place, based on a comment from a bloke at the storage place over the phone. it was long odds, and I've never heard of it. and they won't mention it. poor thing. anyway, I'm sure its connections don't care. I'm sure they're happy enough with third.

Friday, October 29, 2004 - and don't forget World Toilet Day on November 19!
I asked Google for "something new" and it gave me Improbable Research - your one-stop shop for research on cats in zero gravity (with video), nipple piercing and lactation, and the World Toilet Summit in Beijing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

good thing about being back in Melbourne: fresh air, a warm spring day, being able to chat to people in English.
bad thing: being able to understand inane radio chitchat and advertising (in the taxi). like garish neon signs, it all seems so much more aesthetically pleasing (and ignorable) in Chinese.

Friday, October 22, 2004

am I wrong, or is there something deeply twisted about even watching the videos of British hostages begging for their lives, knowing that the followup will probably be a snuff video of their deaths? and no, I'm not posting a link to the latest.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

ps: hey Randall, what's with the photo at the top of your blog? You know the view from the Peak walking track only looks like that one day out of 20. the rest of the time, it's varying degrees of smog.
ps: hey Randall, what's with the photo at the top of your blog. You know the view from the Peak walking track only looks like that one day out of 20. the rest of the time, it's varying degrees of smog.
Blogging begets blogging, it seems.

If I could draw like Jorge Colombo, my HK experiences might come to life. Because one of the most striking things about this place is the way the people dress. There are plenty of jeans-and-T-shirt types, but just as many middleaged women in pink party frocks, Japanese tourists in head-to-toe Gucci, teenage girls in 1960s convent girl school uniforms (carrying mobile phones with up to 10 dingledangles hanging off them), Chinese punks in tartan and combat boots on 35 degree-plus days, young women combining 15 styles and accessories (think Madonna's early days, through a Vogue mixmaster), and, just sometimes, a big white guy (sorry, BWG) who towers above the subway crowds in his tailored suit, big nose leading him along.
the nice thing about the Internet is that you can find 18-month-old flame parties in someone else's comments when you're innocently surfing for an article you wrote once.

in this case, I'm accused of being lame and a few ethical misdemeanours. my employer is (wrongly) castigated for sending me to a blogging conference. I wish. paid for that one myself.

Bloggety Blog, however, has got increasingly lame as time has gone on. I have a couple of other, topic-specific blogs kicking about that do get updated when stuff happens - eg, the pub is benefiting from the best growing season for yonks.. but my life in general is very baby-focussed now and it doesn't always make the most scintillating reading (yesterday was a six-poopy day, does that push your buttons? thought not.) And I was always careful not to make this blog a work blog or anything other than a personal blathering place, so I could care less about criticisms of my style etc. It does nark me when people have a problem with me but don't let me know about it - and the person accusing me of that isn't the person I quoted, whom I interviewed and did fact checking with and appeared quite happy about things.

as for the Rebecca Blood stuff, I don't get it. she was in fact blogging before the term "blog" was commonly used. no one said she was the only one.

where is this going? nowhere, really. I don't feel ready to just close this blog down. nor am I in the mood to reinvigorate it with the effort it would take to say something interesting about Hong Kong, motherhood etc. I'm not actively studying blogs or writing about them right now (resounding cheer from the peanut gallery, I suppose). those few people who do drop by are either friends whom I'm too slack to email (Hi, M&M!) or poor dears who've followed a Google link. the flamethrowers in question won't read this, because I'm not feeling provocative enough to link to them in this post. and here my lame post peters out...

(edit: I'm well pleased to find that my blog, and various other lame sites I have, are now on at least the third page of Google results for a search on my name. sinking merrily into obscurity, me!)

Monday, October 18, 2004

probably more amusing than the actual books: vidlit (broadband only)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

enjoy mashing words with Babelfish but can't be bothered with all the busson pushing. someone has saved you the trouble (via William Gibson)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

via scrapatorium

Sunday, September 19, 2004

hehehe. John Howard in india rubber. via invisible shoebox
an idea for a blog: Improving Me - to get a slew of self-help books and actually do what they say - plaster my walls with affirmations, get up 1/2 an hour earlier to exercise, do visualisations, etc etc. of course I won't, but it's a blog I'd like to read.

hong kong weirdness: when they take apart the bamboo scaffolding on buildings, they just cut and drop the plastic ties on whomever is passing below.

and a newspaper report on a boy who'd been seriously injured by a bus also noted that his bicycle had been damaged. like, who cares? the child had head injuries and they're wasting space on the bike??

pollution is the issue du jour here - it's not just me, the place really is filthy, air-wise. I hide inside with the baby a lot of days, not going out for more than an hour unless it's to an airconditioned mall or apartment. it really is that bad. melbourne's smog is ambrosia compared to this lot.

baby=teething. poor little creature.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

blogger has a new way to waste your time: at the top of their blog*spot blogs, instead of an ad, there is now a search and "next blog" function, for one-click, mindless, random blogsurfing.

naughty blogger! we're trying to get some sleep here!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

what is expatness teaching me? perspective.

that Melbourne is a subtle place, that though I missed it, return is simple being here, not any brilliant moment or surge of joy.

that all the bits of the paper I hadn't missed are not worth reading, though some I greeted with recognition and pleasure. that I need to throw a lot of useless junk out. that I will probably always respond with warmth to Chinese faces from here on in. that my baby is still cute here, but not as cute as he is in Hong Kong.

and, when going to a cold climate from a warm shopping paradise, to BUY MORE WARM BABY CLOTHES AND TAKE THEM.

that said, it is a sunny spring day with a warm north wind and I am well pleased to be here, if only for 12 days. do not expect more blogging, I'll be too busy living.

Friday, August 13, 2004

although one of them did have an amusing link to supermodel personals
like a good broadsheet journalist, I've been reading the South China Morning Post. but to be honest, while it churns out the details of politics and city news, I get more excited when I get a new copy of HK magazine.

this week they had an article about HK blogging. no earthshattering revelations, and after working my way through the blogs referenced, I've concluded that bwg continues to be the most fun, batgung has his moments (which I already knew), and in general if the list in the paper is all HK has to offer in the way of blogs, it's a sad state of affairs.

not that I can talk, being so preoccupied with my darling baby that I can't really be bothered noting the small weirdnesses of HK, like the spiral-shelled snails and the funny outposts like Lamma, a 20 minute ferry ride from Central but with the soul of a Qld country town (and a great-looking beach, complete with trees.

maybe I'll go looking for some better HK blogs. they must exist.

Friday, July 30, 2004

napping is good. these places should be everywhere.

Monday, July 26, 2004

yesterday I thought I saw smoke coming from the high mountains across in China. but it could have been low cloud. today the city is covered in what I hope is smoke - if it's smog it's the worst I've ever seen, even flying into LA. and across the street, two people are flying a kite from the roof of a 20-storey building, using the north wind to send a red paper hawk bucking and kicking through the air.

Friday, July 23, 2004

why does google keep not noticing the wonderful silas carson coates?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

HK is officially bilingual, but Cantonese rules. still, it's often not necessary to hear the English version. When the Tannoy makes an announcement 15 minutes before the pool closes, it's saying "the pool is closing". When the sign in the shower is in black with highlighted sections in red and blue, it's saying "turn on the cold water before the hot". When a bloke in the market knocks a vendor with his goods trolley, she says "look where you're going" and he says "your bum is sticking out too far" and everyone laughs. when the girl at the fish stall talks to the baby, she's saying "you're cute" and when he then cries, the blokes on the stall are saying "ha! even the baby's scared of you"

I haven't picked up any spoken words, but I can now read "warning", "fire", "person" (a generic two-stroke figure that is paired with other symbols to make man, woman, many people etc), "lift", "exit", and "just" as in only.

so we're settling in - at the same time I'm plotting a trip home, whether or not Qantas will give me a seat on points. I miss Melbourne, friends, the dog, the space, the baby's friends, the Vic market, the cold...

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Okay, I take it all back. About the shopping, I mean.

this afternoon I walked into a store and walked out with, among many other things, a perfect pair of black linen casual trousers. the right length. in Australia, this just doesn't happen. everything is made for five foot ten women and the rest of us are supposed to "just take it up", which of course is annoying and usually would ruin the cut.

but here in the land of smaller people, the length is right. I just fit into their "large" sizes but hey, no complaining.

also, courtesy the summer sales, I have a bag full of bizarre and interesting designer (Mossino, Armani Junior) clothes for all my friends' kids. cheap, yes. the credit card took quite a hit, all up. my tendency when stuff is good and cheap is to buy heaps. if it's expensive, I just buy one. either way, I spend about the same, just that today I got more bang for my buck.

I'm seeing HK through a fog of sleep-deprived exhaustion. so forgive me for the lack of scintillating posts. as a resident rather than a tourist you tend to notice minutae instead of the impressive features of a place.

like: the way there is a United Nations of Coke in the supermarket. for a premium, you can get Japanese Coke, Korean Coke and so on. it all tastes the same - kind of like Australian Coke really.

like the bizarre swimming pool protocols. the rules are the same - stay left, swim in the correct lane for your speed etc - but in practice, everyone cruises along doing breaststroke in whatever land and whatever side of the lane they feel like. in Melbourne, I'm a slow swimmer. here, I'm Ian Thorpe. no wonder they had to give their female swimmers hormones to get them medals.

predictably, the Olympics are everywhere. with the next games after this years' in Beijing, Olympic themes are appearing on murals, in advertising and on (Chinese) Coke cans.

last night we saw Spiderman 2 across the road. we learned that you need to book early to get 2 seats together. and I learned the Cantonese symbols for "person(s)", "thank you" and "just" (as on only, merely). also that as far as English movies go, Melbourne is about ten times better than "international" HK. the only movies are big blockbusters, and even the sole arthouse shows Robert Altman - interesting, but not exactly out there. and baby sessions? nonexistent. sigh.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

hong kong is a shopping paradise and hell. lots of cheap no-name and name brand stuff. almost none of it fits. and I'm not huge, just a size larger than last time I was here. gorgeous silk Max Mara top for $120au? wow. doesn't fit. and so on. and why, in a city that is like a sauna, is half the stuff nylon and polyester?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

the Post (sorry, no links until I learn to zip around cyberspace on the Mac better) has a daily horoscope for western stars, Chinese years and an entry from the Tong Shing, an advice almanac. today's colour is pink, and I happen to be wearing a pink top. maybe I'll subscribe to the paper and check the advice before getting dressed each day. as long as there's no yellow. I don't look good in yellow...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

the Times Square plaza plays Abba. All the time. I am so over "Dancing Queen" already!
we have our new apartment, where the first shop across the road is Gucci. seriously. fortunately, Times Square also has a regular supermarket and there's a "wet market" nearby. I'm learning the uses of the "do not disturb" sign in a serviced apartment full of housekeepers and management staff.

as I was told he'd be, the baby is a star attraction here. I counted five shopgirls at once yesterday, all crowded around the pusher cooing at him. this isn't "oh, nice baby" casualness like at home. this is full on "cuuuute!!!" touchy-feely adoration. he's so fair and blue-eyed - it must be what it's like for people with identical triplets, you can't walk a step without a fan club forming. not sure if it will be good for his baby ego or spoil him. but I have to agree with them all of course.

weather: stinking hot. this is like setting up house all over again, and my immediate future is not the Gucci store, but sourcing organic baby food and cooking oil.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

By upgrading, we've downgraded. ie, the new g5 (actually the second one, the first one was faulty, Mac reliability notwithstanding) does not have Word and all that guff, just a basic text program. of course we could buy one. it has sans serif as a default and I am starting to think the anti-sans serif people are right. but who has time to worry about such things? not when one is enjoying the sights of Hong Kong holed up in a small hotel room creeping around the baby so he can sleep, occasionally making short dashes for more bottled water, fruit etc.

yes, we made it. just. various near-disasters on the flight included: Qantas checkin clerk failing to realise we had a seat for the baby and trying to sent his seat off to the hold; further failure to allocate a seat, which we only noticed an hour before boareding; "gate check" of the stroller meaning "carousel collect" at the other end (eventually they sent a person to help us with: the 8kg baby. my handbag. the nappy bag. the car seat. the trolley full of electronics. the toy bag. Andrew's backpack. which was lucky or else we'd still be at the exit gate.

the upside of - and I break off here to note that "ctrl+s" does not mean on an Apple what it does on a Mac, and don't give me any of that guff about not needing to save because Apples don't crash because the first G5 had a t,g,b and 5 key that didn't work - anyway the upside of the company's inexplicable decision that we'd spend the first week in a hotel was that the hotel had a "limo" (car) for us.

the downside is that we're in one room, with no kitchen, nowhere for the baby to nap unless I turn all the lights off and pretend not to be here (and I further note that small differences between this and the old keyboard make typing in the dark harder, shoulda got the illuminated keyboard after all), a tiny fridge so we have to go to the restaurant for breakfast (dependent on baby nap times), that all our stuff has arrived at the airport but we don't really have room for it here, and that all my arrangements for this week are for the apartments we're not in.

ah well. at least the hotel sits atop a mall that runs down half of Kowloon, so we can get quick food/papers - but not baby cots - without venturing into the 30 degree, 90 per cent humidity, real Hong Kong. the park is close by, but it's just green and hot instead of grey and hot like the rest of Hong Kong.

(ps - may never post this. have no idea how to cut and paste on a mac. why no right mouse button?)

pps: like a pencil, the g4 touchpad works better if you wet your finger...

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

yes, baby still cute. yes, still moving to Hong Kong. which would be why I haven't posted much. Saturday. that's the day after tomorrow.
my new cousin's blog. warning: cute baby pix

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

what to wear
Need a babysitter? Rent-a-Mum specialises in finding babysitters, nannies and short-term childcare. You can reach them in HK at Tel/Fax: 2523 4868
hong kong webgrrls
hong kong women's site
although having done all that, I notice there's a Marks and Sparks store. I think I may have underestimated the availability of the stuff I'll need in Hong Kong. it'll be OK. it's just this going headlong into the unknown that has me searching for information while I'm still here. though we will need to gear up pretty quickly once we get there. once we have an apartment. once we even have flights booked.
this post is all business. so much to organise: packing, housesitting, flights. etc.

organic food in HK

vegan restaurants

post from a bulletin board: There is also a new organic cafe opening up, along the escalators at Stanton Road close to SOHO area. I am not sure if it has opened yet, but I have seen a very BIG sign of the organic cafe opening soon.


Organic Gardens - Organic vegetables and wines
1/F, 38 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong, , Tel +852 2850 7919, Fax +852 2850 4633

All Things Healthy
Unit 1503, The Centrium
No.60 Wyndham Street
Tel: 852-2525-1778
Fax: 852-2525-1783
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat, 10:00am - 6:00pm
or Email us below:

Green Concepts - Total approach to healthy living
2/F, 54 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, , Tel +852 2882 4848, Fax +852 2890 8469

Health Gate - Full range of healthfood
8/F, 106-108 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong, , Tel +852 2545 2286, Fax +852 2854 0770

Organic Gardens sells mainly organic foodstuff. As to protect the environment, Organic Gardens pays great efforts in advocating organic agriculture and natural organic food consumption.

WE DO NOT USE any pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers to grow our vegetables. Developing the habit of natural organic food consumption can be beneficial to ones health. It is especially good for people who live in a busy world.

Organic Gardens is located in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong. The total area of the farm is approximately 500,000 sq. ft. Organic Gardens is the largest organic farm in Hong Kong.

Outlets of Organic Products / Vegetables

list of wellcome supermarkets

1) Greendotdot Shop

Shop No. MEF1, Mei Foo MTR Station, Kowloon

Shop No. KOB10, Kowloon Bay MTR Station, Kowloon

Shop No. OLY3, Olympic MTR Station, Kowloon

Shop No. FOH8, Fortress Hill MTR Station, Hong Kong

2) Euro Cafe

HOK 12C, M/F, Hong Kong Station, Airport Express, Central, H.K. (between Check-in Concourse & Train Platform)

Shop 1B, 1/F., Entertainment Building, 30 Queen's Road Central, Central

3) Coffee Chateau

KOW12A, Arrival Hall, Kowloon Station, Airport Express, Kowloon

general shopping guide site

baby equipment rental

sogo: like Myer, only in HK. have baby clothes etc

general listing of babygear at geoexpat - lookes really useful

big baby supplies shop

another long list of links to baby product shops.

Monday, May 24, 2004

this morning driving home from the market, I saw a man in the park with a dog. the dog was lying down. he was stroking its head. sensing something wrong, I hung a U-ey and called out "are you OK?" he said yes. I said "do you need help?". he said no. but when I had turned back again to continue on my way he was crossing the road with the large white dog tangled up in his arms, tongue lolling out. it looked like a dying dog to me.

was he accepting its death? was other help on the way? he appeared to care for it. extra pats for my dog this afternoon.
there's a particular ancestor my family talks about for some reason, maybe his grand name: Andrew Topping Thompson.

not so much is known of him except that he was a figure in early Ballarat. I went to see my grandmother's brother, ATT's grandson, in hospital last week and he told me two things: ATT is buried in the Ballarat cemetery under a headstone showing a fireman (he helped set up the fire brigade there. and when the man was in a family argument, he'd blow off steam by playing the bagpipes. in the house. as in "I think I'll just have a wee play on me bagpipes".

snort. I can almost feel a genealogy blog coming on.

Friday, May 14, 2004

I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this: why isn't there a Dyke Eye for the Straight Wife? in which you can learn to leave your armpits hairy, not iron the sheets and go drinking beer with your buds every afternoon instead of stuffing olives and similar wastes of perfectly good life?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

want sleep. must organise move to Hong Kong (or more to the point, leaving Melbourne). have actual work to do (interviews, writing).

all else is a blur...
Funny, I thought Google would care that spammers are trying to get gmail addresses by trawling Blogger blogs and emailing requests for invitations to the owners of those blogs, whether or not they actually have gmail. but they don't. they simply advised me to hide all my addresses from view, like one piece of spam either way matters to me.

otoh, gmail is performing quite well so far. still not sure how useful "conversations" are but I'm enjoying not having to clean it out. which I could have achieved by simply changing my overstuffed six-year-old Hotmail address too...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

activity report: still working on the pub, , and on my collection of friends' and neighbours' babies born in the same year as Alexander. I'm up to 10, current and pending. it's going to be a good first birthday.

being at home is surprisingly time-consuming. people keep inviting themselves here for coffee, and it only takes a few to make a peaceful week a bit too much. I've taken on a tiny freelance job, and will have to say no to a few visits to get it done. that, and organising a move to Hong Kong...

Monday, April 19, 2004

but seeing he was last married to a British writer and the new wife's a rather gorgeous model, the plot of Fury starts to look tres autobiographical.
I'd like to have him over for dinner. dunno about marrying him.

besides, at only 19 years younger, I'm too old for him...

Sunday, April 18, 2004

too many quizzes
aargh. Blogger just won't come I'll write this offline.
more serindipitous music discoveries: it's been bugging us that our Sopranos DVDs don't have music credits. the tunes are often surprisingly cruisy and lyrical. tonight we watched an ep. from the third series with a lovely Nils Lofgren song and thanks to the magic of Google, not only tracked it down, but found that HBO have put the song credits up online.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Thursday, April 08, 2004

right now I am:

counting down the 45 minutes until Alexander wakes up from his nap.
sterilising his dummies etc
preparing dinner
agonising over how to manage any return to work, from home or at the office
about to do some stretches for my sore neck.
looking up a CD my Dad wants for his birthday (Google found it: I typed in "Gosh Growban" and it took me here)
writing an Easter to-do list
emptying the dishwasher.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

hmm. if the South China Morning Post doesn't have it, I wonder if it's an April 1 type story?
that's it. I'm moving to Google for my free email. 1gig is good.

and do I really want to go to Hong Kong? bwg reckons the usual suspects had missiles at the airport, tho' I can't find the news anywhere else. why Hong Kong?

Monday, March 29, 2004

speaking of old blog acquaintances, big white guy is still worth a read. especially if one may be going to Honkers for six months as a kept woman, sorry, as the non-earning partner in an equal childrearing relationship.

it's a big move, and has interesting work implications, not to mention the upheaval. but I like Hong Kong, on paper. I like New York more, of course...
thought I'd check in on my buddies, and as I couldn't dredge batgrl's URL from memory I went to Jon's site. where I find the Bat has been very ill. blogging has brought me some friends and though I'm not around as much I really consider her and Jon amongst the best of them and I dunno, just want to say I want her to be up and batting about soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I've considered starting a special blog about our neighbour's building project. but I would really have had to have started way back when they first came up with the idea to get the full thing - the smarmy architect, the neighbour having a fit in the tribunal hearing, the long wait for them to find a builder, etc. but I must say I enjoyed today's instalment. the Wall is going up where the Tree used to be. I went into the yard and the bricklayers said "good morning". so I had a pleasant chat with them about finishes and we agreed they could come into my yard to clean off the mortar later.

when I went to leave, I opened the gates (of course the brickies' truck was blocking access, despite various calls to council and the smarmy architect, not to be confused with our annoying architect). someone who I suspect was the actual builder came racing over, probably in deep fear of my expected burst of temper. I went straight past him and had another pleasant chat with the brickies while their labourer cleaned the wall and they moved their truck, no problem. then of course I had a committee of stupid building types watching me back out - including the builder, who in that quintessentially male patronising way, felt he needed to "guide" me out. so I rolled down the window and said "I've done this about 200 times. but thanks". if he was the builder, I kind of enjoyed doing that in front of his workers. after all, he has declined my invitation (via smarmy architect) to make contact so we can sort out all these access/early start etc issues properly. it was nice to deal directly with some sensible workmen, and to demonstrate to myself as much as anyone that I'm not actually an insane homeowner hellbent on stopping their project.

in fact, after 2 1/2 years waiting, it's kind of a relief to have the wall finally there. it's red brick and solid and I can now get on with erecting giant trellises (trellii?) to grow creepers up. the sooner the whole thing is done the better. then I only have our unspeakably arrogant and unpleasant neighbours evil-eying me every time I come and go to worry about.

Monday, February 02, 2004

must type quickly, baby sleeping but threatening to wake up.

hve discovered advantage of being a "new mum". when your annoying architect responds to your queries about why he's sent a final bill when he hasn't finished the actual work with a very lame and vaguely threatening joke about "well, we could arrange a meeting in a carpark at midnight with headlights", you can plausibly respond "what? I'm a bit vague at the moment, I don't understand, what do you mean headlights?".

and when he further suggests it's your job to write up yet another list of what's not been finished (get a clue mate, it's the list you had last year minus what's been done, plus final documentation), you can further say "I'm a bit too busy to do that right now."

architects are very clever people. and frankly, I adore this new house except for the bit about noise travelling in it. but client handling skills? Zero.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

it seems that every time I ride up the Merri Creek I see something new.

this morning (yes, it's still possible to go for rides with a 2 1/2 month old baby), it was a man with his little girl. he looked, well, foreign; possibly Iranian or thereabouts, with darkish skin, a high forehead and a silly moustache. she was four or five, chubby, dressed in a floral frock with thick long black hair tied back. she was riding a pink bike with training wheels, instructing her Dad when to hold onto her bike - for instance when crossing rough terrain or a scary (though safe) bridge. the last glimpse I had of them was them feeding the ducks in Coburg Lake. and whether it's close to the truth or not, I imagined him to be a refugee from some horrible conflict, with images no one should have in his memory, savouring the peace and beauty of Sunday morning walking by a quiet, semi-deserted lake with his lovely daughter.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

so I'm trying to sell my sportscar, for obvious reasons.

today I got a msg from a potential buyer. I called back. it went like this:

"Hi, this is Jenny with the MX-5, I know you said call Saturday but I've got a little baby and I just had a moment to call you back and ... hello?"
"Hello, are you there?"
"have I disturbed you?"
"Is that Adam?"
"Um, I think I'll call you back later, it doesn't seem like you're with me right now."

if he has the $$ to buy a late model sportscar, I suspect he got it either by being a rock musician or by dealing drugs. weeeeird.
this looks like a new language. I think the author might be Indonesian. it was the title that got me: "Lets Rock dicks and bebs!!!!!!!"
to me, it would be harder work to invent all those misspellings - 4get, tat, rite - than to write it correctly. but this has a voice

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I've met one seriously misogynist gay guy in my time, but plenty of straight ones.
mostly tradies. you know them when you see them: no eye contact, short answers, lots of head-ducking, literally. this could also describe a lot of geeks, but they can avoid female contact, whereas your average tradey deals with women at home all day, so comes to resent and scorn us.
my strategy, which I've had to use twice today already, is to just speak slowly and clearly and stick to the practical details. but by the second one, a very young plumber who blundered around our yard instead of just asking me where the gully trap was, I was over it. so I proceeded to sit in the lounge room breastfeeding the baby while he walked in and out running taps (and running up a bill at $2/minute!). he hated it. I didn't care.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

blogcrusing still has its moments, you know. randomly from Blogger's front page, a young man muses on love, faith and really cool toys.
on the CD player: Aaron Neville singing Summertime, one of my favourites whether it's sung by him, by Janis, by Big Mama Thornton or anyone else. It reminds me of a hot night in New York City, down in the subway: a man was sitting on the platform across the tracks singing that song and calling out for donations - even New Yorkers were amused and throwing cash.

but a second later a man holding a gun ran along our platform, and from nowhere came what seemed like 15 plainclothes cops (think agents swarming in the Burly Brawl). the busker was up the iron stairs in a flash and I hid behind a girder whle the cops literally covered the guy with the gun with their bodies. that was ten years ago, when New York was still dirty and dangerous.

a few nights later at a Nick Cave - I won't say concert, because all he did was read from his bad novel - I got chatting to some guy who walked me up Broadway to my hostel. halfway there, a street vendor suddenly lunged across in front of us at another man on the kerb, his knife flashing. and me, the naive little Australian girl, I was the one who grabbed my new friend and steered him around the scene as if nothing was happening.

but Aaron Neville: it's occurred to me that like many of my favourite things, I'm not sure how I came to know of him. I just love the guy's voice, and even though he's from Nawlins and I'm in Melbourne, I've seen (heard) him and his bros. five times. but why? how did I know to start listening to him? with Massive Attack, for instance, it was in Dan O'Brien's car on the way to a photo shoot when I said "who's this playing"? but the Nevilles? I have no idea.

maybe it was that same summer visit to New York when I went along to a free park concert and grooved to them in Central Park in the sun. but I think I must have had an idea I liked them to even turn up there. Syd Straw, on the other hand, was serendipity, the support and saving grace of the annoying Nick Cave performance.

do good things find us somehow?

I'll probably never see Aaron Neville again. the last time was on a hot Vegas night at a poolside show under a full moon - only a few hundred people there, so I could go and stand front and centre. that was, I know, enough.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

remember snail mail? (actually, at our house, there are real snails in the letterbox).

today I received: a note from an old friend who suffered a loss 11 mths ago but is now doing OK, with her new business card.

a calendar of views from a friend living in devon.

signed notes from his liitle girls thanking me for xmas presents, including the information that they were used to wake daddy up (they were toys that made Australian bird calls)

and a very late xmas card from my sponsored child in Zambia, with a tiny stick figure of a girl for signature.

all of which are now displayed around the place, taking up visible residence in my material world.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

when we bought this house, there was rising damp in the walls.

we spent $7000 on damp treatment and plastering. there's still damp in the walls.

Friday, January 02, 2004

batgrl is too kind.

of course I haven't been blogging much; but these are the things parenthood is teaching me:

why women are better at multitasking, and picking up where they left off.

that you can achieve things with a tiny baby around, it just takes five times as long.

that perversely, what you really need in extremis is other people doing it just as hard.

that when people tell you that the moment you see your first child, the ground shifts beneath your feet, they're right.

that it's possible to read complex novels with a small child; as long as it's really small and latching on well...

that six hours' broken sleep is not a bad night, it's an unacheivable dream.

that naps (and I already knew this) are Good.

and that it certainly can be worth crying over spilt milk, if it teaches you not to let the baby chuck up the next time.