Friday, 24 February 2006

a bit of musicality, please

have been listening to tori amos' strange little girls, which i've had for years but i don't think i've ever listened to the whole thing. previously i was put off by tori being too...well...tori, but today i'm enjoying its weird darkness. this was brought on by watching the west wing last night when they used her cover of 'i don't like mondays' to moving effect and remembering that i actually do rather like tori's music, even her covers.

which oddly reminds me that i have to start thinking of what i'm going to sing at emma and stuart's wedding during the signing of the register (definitely not 'i don't like mondays'!). oh, no, it was reading karen's blog that did it and thinking that the finn brothers' 'won't give in' is a gorgeous wedding song. i would quite like to sing ben folds' 'the luckiest', but then i know another couple who walked down the aisle to that and it might not be em and stuart's taste - although they have had absolutely no suggestions for music, and are leaving it up to me. which is a bit freaky, really.

it's such a privilege to be asked to do music for someone's wedding. i was really touched that tom and vanessa asked john and i to lead the singing last year at their wedding, and i loved when we did 'you loved me' with 3 part harmony at kim and brendan's wedding a couple of years ago. i know they would be happy with whatever i chose to sing, but i really want it to be special of course!

hmm. i'd best think on this awhile.

Thursday, 16 February 2006

a room of one's own and other covetable objects

i'm back in my study and oh how i love it. just being surrounded by my books, my desk facing out through my curved windows instead of facing the wall, the monastery up the road lit and looking beautifully european, my belly full of the delicious veal parmagiana i made for dinner, a cool breeze just after the rain wafting in through the window, mozart's requiem playing, and lovely lovely solitude...this is a very exquisite feeling of contentment i have going on right now.

i think it could be further enhanced by a hot chocolate. :)

oh, and before i go, something i happened upon and instantly was enchanted by, even if it is ridiculously far out of my price range: a gorgeous edition of neverwhere (they don't have photos of the finished product yet, but say it will be in the same league as their special editions of American Gods (numbered (US$200) or lettered (US$900) versions, which just look rather insane and stunning (note that with the lettered edition of AG as well as a handy little purpose-built cupboard to keep the books in, you also get a 'reader's copy' so you can get coffee on it and bend the pages and, well, actually be able to pick the damn thing up)). there's something really strange about a book so beautiful you don't want to even turn the pages for fear of marking them, which almost defeats the purpose of it being a book, and yet i find these so desirable. sigh.

one day i hope to own such books, but wouldn't it be nice to have limited edition, silk-bound volumes of one's own books? yes, so people can be desperate to own and savour them, but also to say 'look - i made that! and isn't it gorgeous?' (though i guess as an unpublished author, having a book in print at all would be a marvel) it will happen, one day, i swear! just have to write the thing first...

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

happy decimal currency day!

14 february 1966, the day Australia switched over to decimal currency - as valid a thing as any to celebrate on the 14th of feb, and it doesn't start with V or involve overpriced flowers (dave was telling us tonight that at bi-lo they were selling lovely bouqets of colourful flowers for $8 a bunch, but single red roses cost $10, and at the florist they were selling single, boxed roses for $39 or something).

today is also jen's birthday, an even more wonderful thing to celebrate than the above superfluity. happy birthday, jen!

i have just returned from port macquarie where i went for a long weekend with the tonks. bethany and i drove back today as she has to go back to school and i have to go back to work (in my new office - i forgot to say last week, i have my own office now, which is extremely exciting and has done a lot to make me feel more positive about being there).

we went to the cassegrain winery this morning before i left, and it was lovely. i had my first proper wine tasting, assisted by a lovely chap who flirted quite nicely with me, just the thing on a day when you're feeling like an idiot because you're single and there isn't even anyone you could think romantic thoughts about, even if you wanted to. i bought mum a bottle of 2003 merlot-cab-sav and a noble cuvee - both very delicious - to say thank you for lending me the car to drive up and back.

i had dinner at mum's, as usual, then came home to my empty house (hurrah). things smelled a little odd (i had gotten obstinate by the end of my flatmate's stay and stopped doing housework because she only ever vacuumed her room and even then not often...i'm sure she would have cleaned if i'd asked her, but i objected to having to ask), so i went into one of my cleaning frenzies and did a quick vacuum and mop and lit my oil burner and burned a yummy smelling oil blend with atlas cedar, patchouli, cinnamon and balsam peru. then after watching the OC and enjoying having my house back, i went into the bathroom and thought it would be most unpleasant to wake up tomorrow and have to look at the black footprints in the bath again, so i cleaned the bath too.

it feels weird, admitting to cleaning like this, as though i'm completely obsessive. don't get me wrong - i don't maniacally clean all the time, i just want things how i want them ("you're the worst kind - you think you're low maintenance but actually you're high maintenance"). it will be nice to start a new day with the house reasonably clean (or at least not filthy and smelling faintly wrong).

and now, to bed.

Friday, 10 February 2006


I can't resist doing these damn memes. I didn't even know they were called that until recently. they're usually what i post when i can't think of anything else to post, or when there is a lot of ranting i want to do but am trying to avoid because the people concerned may end up reading it. today it's the latter. maybe i'll tell you about it someday, for the moment let me just say i'm going to port macquarie this weekend and when i return my house will once more be my own (until i am so poor i have to give in and get another flatmate).

anyway - on with the meme.

Four jobs I've had
1. child care worker
i love children, bless them, but after five years of looking after many preschool - kindergarten kids and having to deal with their parents but having no power to effect change (or be paid reasonably) because you weren't a teacher, just an after-care person, i was quite happy to walk away.

2. receptionist
something i never want to do again. bottom of the pecking order, patronised and unappreciated by all. i worked for bosses who made david brent look like an angel (actually one of them looked a lot like david brent).

3. media reporter
ha - right - sounds much more interesting than it was. i was a 'reporter' for a media monitoring company, which basically meant starting work at 6am and working on saturdays, writing precis and transcribing radio news and talk shows, which would then be sold to companies and people who cared that they were mentioned in the news. on the surface, it sounds easy enough, right? all you have to do is listen to the radio news, write a short precis of each story including mentions of any people, company or product names. now try listening to the radio 'news' on your average station - 2DayFM or Mix, for example - hear how fast they go through each item? we were on extreme time pressure as you had to do this every hour for every station, and if you didn't meet your quota by the end of your six hour shift you had to stay and finish, but you weren't paid for the overtime (they didn't like you working longer than six hours because then, by law, they had to give you a break). the sport was a killer because i don't care about it, but had to get all the players' names right (sure, i was more intelligent than 90% of the other reporters and could spell every other word they threw at me, but somehow that doesn't count if you can't name rugby league players). i lasted about 3 months, when i stopped having a social life because i had to go to bed at 8pm every night, and when i ended up being anxious all the time because i couldn't meet my quotas. the one upside was i did have a brilliant grasp of news and current affairs, which lasted until about a week after i quit.

4. travel agent assistant
got to look at pretty travel brochures and get discounts on holidays. not much else to commend it, really.

Four movies I can watch over and over
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. An Affair to Remember
3. High Fidelity
4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (I know, em, I nicked this from you,'s worth it!)

Four places I've lived
1. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
2. Singapore
3. Glebe, Sydney
4. Kensington, Sydney

Four TV shows I love (I'm including cancelled ones because I'm not really au fait with whatever's on at the moment)
1. Firefly
2. The West Wing
3. Gilmore Girls
4. The OC :)

Four favourite places I've been on holidays
1. Venice - quiet, beautiful, mysterious
2. Amsterdam - covered in snow, sailing along the canals, gorgeous architecture
3. Bath - like stepping into a book
4. Florence - the most beautiful paper shops and gelato in the middle of winter

Four of my favorite dishes
1. mum's spaghetti and meatballs - ah, home cooking
2. veal parmagiana
3. creme brulee
4. peking duck

Four sites I visit daily
1. Sydney Morning Herald
2. Neil's journal (if he's updated it)
3. iTunes music store (that's not technically the link to the store, but anyway)
4. Sydney Anglicans (a little nerdy? possibly, but i often need to check this out for work and then get distracted on the discussion boards)

Four places I would rather be right now
1. in bed, asleep
2. in a quiet, nice-smelling room, having a massage
3. up in the blue mountains
4. in first class on a plane, going...somewhere (i know it's perverse but i actually enjoy plane travel, even if i never have actually flown first class)

oops. i should get back to work. :D

Sunday, 5 February 2006

spontaneous combustion

just came home after having dinner with brett and em, and watching the pilot of firefly with brett (em refused to watch, no matter how much i tried to convince her it wasn't really sci fi and she'd love it...). we ate at the mixing pot in glebe, which is becoming The Place We Go whenever we get together for dinner - and that's not a bad thing! for entree we shared figs wrapped in proscuitto with goat's cheese and it was divine. for mains i had butterfly baby chicken with a salt crust, etc, etc, which was nice but i must admit not as amazing as em had made out. and for dessert i had the most delicious creme brulee with raspberries on the bottom - normally i don't like adding much to a creme brulee, but this was just the perfect texture, with the perfect crackable top and the delicious tangy berries at the bottom. maybe i appreciate it all the more because i haven't had a decadent dessert for a while, what with all the healthy eating and yoga i'm doing (it's scary...but it's working! i am achieving one of my new year's resolutions!)

it was great to see brett and em. em said she just decided to call me on a whim because i was one of those spontaneous people and they might have a chance of getting me out of the house if they just threw the opportunity at me. i must admit it's true - if i plan something in advance, even if i'm really looking forward to it, it will usually get to the day and i won't feel like going. whereas if the opportunity happens to present itself and i'm in the mood, i'm all for it. but then brett and em are just as much piking hermits as i am and often will cancel plans at the last minute, so i never feel bad for doing it to them. we are of like mind.

i'm not sure why it is that i hesitate to go out so much. we were talking about travel and brett decided i was what is apparently called a 'cocoon traveller' - i like things to be comfortable and easy and stress free and want to experience 'authentic' local culture without any of the unpleasantness of, say, backpacking (you might love backpacking, but it's always been a turn off for me). but i don't think that cocoon mentality is restricted to travel. i get tired very, very quickly, and often without warning, and i need to know i can get home and be safe there at any given time. it's partly why i don't do things like go to the harbour on NYE to watch fireworks; while i would love to do that in many ways, the crowd would eventually freak me out, i'd get really tired and would have to work out how to get home and no doubt i would be panicking and stressed out before i managed that. so i hardly ever go out dancing or wandering about town at all hours like i used to, because of that fatigue and attendant problems. i enjoy it immensely when i do go out, but i have to be able to afford a cab home and all that kind of thing.

things like going to dinner or going to the movies are usually a safe bet. but more often than not you'll find me curled up on the couch watching tv, or lying on my bed reading, or lying around at mum's having a chat...or lying around at mum's bemoaning the fact that i never go out. i guess it's cheaper this way...

but i did enjoy that creme brulee.