Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Did some groceries today at Woolworths. At the cash register there was a prominent sign reading, "Leave heavy items in your trolley. We can scan them". So I left the giant tin of olive oil, bulk laundry detergent and two things of cat litter in the trolley, because they are big and heavy. 

The checkout lady gave me a withering stare and said, "I'm going to have to scan them." So I said, "Okay" thinking that she would do whatever the sign had promised. But she just kept staring at me. 

"Do you want me to put them on the conveyor belt?" I asked. 

"Yes," she replied, as if to an idiot. 

"I was just doing what the sign told me. The sign says to leave heavy things in the trolley," I said as I put the things on the conveyor belt. But she had shut down and did not interact with me again, save to take my card and give me a receipt and wish me a good day. She animatedly chatted with the woman behind me though. I hate that.

The rudeness of the checkout chick was akin to the rudeness of the woman at St George yesterday when I rang up to find out why they were still holding on to money from staying at a hotel for work last week - it was a bond for the room, but I would have thought the charge would be released once I had checked out and everything had been paid for. But it took a whole week for the charge to come off. Anyway, the conversation went like this:

me: "I called the hotel on Sunday and they told me they would fax the bank and ask them to release the funds."

woman: "Where did they get the paperwork from?"

me: "What paperwork?"

woman: "Well what were they faxing?"

me: "They just said they would fax St George and ask them to release the funds."

woman: "Well what fax number did they use?"

me: "I don't know!"

woman: "You do understand that we are a national business and there are hundreds of fax numbers?"



Then she left me on hold for about five minutes (I was on my mobile) and by the time she came back she was a bit more polite. After my issue had been more or less resolved she said, "Oh I have one other thing to ask you - would you like us to increase your credit limit to $10,000?" I declined.

I passive aggressed about it on twitter and their rep said sorry to hear it and to let her know if she could help, but what could she do? Honestly. People are just generally rude. I try to make an effort to speak politely and make eye contact and smile, even if I don't feel like it, because I know what it's like to be serving and having customers take their horrible day out on you. It makes it seem worse somehow when the other person doesn't reciprocate.

Though that's something I noticed at Supanova. I would get a little frustrated by the people who, when I smiled and asked, "Would you like a postcard?" didn't even bother to say "no thank you", but just ignored me entirely. But then there were the times when I would often offer a postcard to a passer by who looked blank and unengaged, and I would try to make eye contact and smile as I did it, and more often than not they would snap out of their blankness, smile back at me and take the card.

They were the briefest of moments, but they were good. Positive human to human contact. It makes things feel less bleak. It makes you feel like you are valid, you exist, you have been acknowledged.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Cot blanket for Dormans by the procrastinatrix

When going through my stash, I found a bag of hexagons I'd hooked up last year and not known quite what to do with. I had planned to make a blanket but ran out of puff. I had gotten as far as sewing a bunch together, but realised that I would need to make a gazillion more before it was adult blanket sized and I had gotten a bit sick of hexagons.

Then I realised I had just enough to make a sweet little pram blanket for some friends at church who are about to have their first baby. I sewed the last few hexagons on, did an edging in three rows of double crochet (which give it a slightly wavy effect) and voila!

Now, just waiting for the news that the bub's been born and I can give it to them!

Pattern: made it up, but used this post from Attic24 as a starting point.
Yarn: Lincraft Cosy Wool Yarn

Monday, 24 June 2013

This is my sweet tooth.

You can tell it's sweet, because it has a bow.

It's also the bane of my life. Don't let its placid expression fool you. It turns me from a rational human being into a chocolate craving guzzlebot.

But today I have not given in. I have had a muesli bar and some yoghurt, but they have health benefits that a neenish tart does not. I resisted the urge to go to the bakery. So take that, sweet tooth.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Supanova Sydney 2013

Yoshi's big day outGetting readyDeepUs!Iron PeopleA Tardiswoman
A small human encountering R2BMOThe Riddler and his companion bought a copy of our bookI don't think Khal Drogo would have posed so willinglyAll sortsSophie and Howl
Not a good place to rest one's lightsaber

Supanova Sydney 2013, a set on Flickr.

My Optus reception totally sucked at Supanova so instead of tweeting here are my thoughts from the floor:
  • Be kind to others: when you are likely to be in a crowd all day, deodorant is your friend. 
  • Prop-based cosplay is problematic because you have to carry something around all day with you 
  • If you spend ages on your costume you should consider getting a cool bag that matches (I said this last year). Backpacks ruin any outfit unless you are playing Finn from Adventure Time.
  • There were heaps of Finns this year. Last year I only saw one.
  • Alan Tudyk drew a huge crowd. David Hasselhoff did not. 
  • In a roomful of cosplayers, the authority of a police officer in uniform is somewhat diminished. He just looks like a not very flamboyant Australian Village Person.
In other news, we sold out of the 20 copies of Kinds of Blue that Karen brought, and took postal orders for a few more copies. It's exciting to see that people are still keen to read our little book.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Such fun!

I love these girls. They make me laugh. Shooting and editing Jelssievision is a joy, not least because I get to laugh and laugh at the ridiculous things that are said. And having a non-deadliney creative project always keeps me happy.

One bit that makes me laugh (mainly because of Jess's giggle) but I had to cut for clarity's sake, was this exchange when Jess was talking about hating leopard print.

Jess: "Also black leather." [makes a face]

Me: "It's like mutton dressed as lamb."

Jess: "Muffins dressed as lambs?"

[bursts into laughter]

We've decided our blooper reel is going to be called Muffins dressed as lambs* - an end of season treat for those who care. But who knows how long a season will be? We don't. Maybe I'll just have to sprinkle Jelssie-isms around the internet, like an Easter egg hunt.

If you haven't already seen it, here is Jelssievision episode 2 or JEVS1E2 (which doesn't roll off the tongue so easily but looks kind of important).

* I wanted to draw muffins dressed as lambs, but I realised that what I was picturing in my head was actually a lamb dressed as a muffin, which is an entirely different thing.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Criteria and choosiness

One of the topics at the Jelssievision filming yesterday was again internet dating, and when we went to Ikea after brunch, Jess and Elsie and I kept talking about relationships and the sort of things people say to you when you're a single woman.

One of them is "maybe you're too choosy" - I used to hear that one from my Chinese relatives every time they asked me if I had a boyfriend or not. And when I did have a boyfriend, they just kept asking me "when are we going to hear wedding bells?", which wasn't especially helpful either and a moot point because we wouldn't have been ringing any kind of bell anyway. If we had gotten married the question probably would have moved on to "when are we going to hear the patter of little feet?". So basically the lesson is, you're never allowed to be happy and just exist in whatever state you're in. And my Chinese relatives speak in cliches.

Anyway, the thing that annoys me about that sort of comment is a) it's not like there is this queue of eligible men forming and I'm rejecting them all, and b) isn't your choice of partner something you want to be choosy about?

Sure, if you are rejecting someone because they don't drive a red Porsche, you are being picky (and foolish, mainly because that person is probably going through some mid-life crisis or needing to prove himself to the world and why would you want to be with that person?).

But holding out for someone with the same beliefs who loves you is a pretty foundational thing, I think.

I guess I'm grateful that I don't live in an era when having any sort of identity as a human being or financial security as a woman meant you had to be attached to a male. I'm glad I am a fully functional, capable and independent person whether I'm married or single. I'm glad I am able to be choosy.

Friday, 14 June 2013

other things that help

Today is already much better than yesterday. I did bellydancing last night, moved and shimmied and laughed at the wobbling and unco-ness and that helped. I got a good night's sleep (91% sleep quality according to my app - that's a win), and that helped. It's sunny and I went outside and tended my worm farm before work, and that helped (my worms are poor little neglecterinos most of the time, but they don't seem to mind. Actually I don't know how I would tell if they did mind, but anyway).

As Jess G just said to me, "Sleep and exercise, so boringly essential aren't they?" She speaks truth. Also, we're filming another episode of Jelssievision tomorrow, and creative projects always give me a bit of a boost. We're going to Scrummies, one of my favourite cafes in Oatley, but it's very small and I'm not sure if we'll have enough room. Might have to get creative with camera positioning.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

caramel pudding helps

I want to write something, but I don't know what. This week has been a horrible one in lots of ways. It's hard to keep being a functional human being when you're plodding along. You don't want to carry a sign over your head, saying "depressed today" but if you don't tell people, they don't know. They just wonder why you're especially irritable or monosyllabic or red-eyed or starey.

I feel like I've achieved a lot by actually getting up and going to work each day. And even though I'm not working as efficiently as I could, I am getting through things on my long list. So things aren't as bleak as all that.

But I hate how when you're trying to process something or work through emotional stuff, you just have to keep going even though it feels like the whole world ought to stop turning for a while so you can sort stuff out.

Today I snapped at one of our hard working volunteers and he snapped back at me...after a while I went and apologised to him and he apologised to me, so no harm done. He was having a bad day too, it turns out. But I felt ashamed that I had let my emotions get the better of me and lashed out at someone for no reason. I guess we think we're more in control or more self aware than we are, most of the time.

As I wrote the above, my colleague Tiff just brought me a bowl of caramel apple pudding and custard. Some people just get it.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

learning body image

Venus at a mirror - Peter Paul Rubens [source]

On Facebook I linked to this article by Kasey Edwards - When your mother says she's fat.

My mum has a tendency to take on guilt about just about everything in terms of how she raised us (I think most mums do), so initially I was reluctant to link to it, knowing she'd probably feel bad about it. But it was ticking away in my head and I think it's an important thing to talk about.

The reason I linked to it is not "gee thanks mum for all my hangups, GOSH". Body image is a complicated thing, and not everyone has problems with it, but I know mum and I do. She and I were talking the other day about how careless comments you hear as a child profoundly affect you, even if, at the time, you didn't think it was a big deal. She remembers someone commenting on her legs when she was a child, and her mum being horrified. I remember my dad wondering if, when I was about 10-11, I should go on a diet and mum being horrified. In both cases, I think we were both affected more by our mother being upset about someone's comments than the actual comments, but gradually we came to view our bodies from others' perspectives and see them as not right, rather than just to be happy in our own skin.

No, the reason I linked to the article is it's more me thinking how if I ever had children, or a regular influence on children, how my behaviour and words might subconsciously shape their thinking about something like body image. We tend to think in terms of explicit teaching being the thing that shapes thinking and character, but of course the observation of unspoken things is just as strong.

I read some article or book recently (excellent referencing skills, hey?) that asked what message it sends to a child to see their mum get on the scales regularly or to constantly diet or to always be criticising how she looks. That gave me pause. If I had a child, I would not want them thinking they were defective, or only valuable if they looked a certain way. So why is cultivating those weeds in my own thought-life okay? Or, if not cultivating, then not pulling the weeds out.

It makes me think it's worth continuing to work on my thinking on these things so it's healthier, both for myself and anyone who might be listening. I'm glad I've started to do that, though it's definitely a 'two steps forward, one step back' kind of thing.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Oh yeah I forgot - a couple of posts ago I told you I went to brunch with Jess and Elsie and filmed the results. Well I finished editing it yesterday! I love these girls and their ramblings. I won't embed the video here, but point you to their site cos I know they like looking at the analytics. Go forth and watch.

It's a longish video at almost 10 mins, but it's gentle and pleasant and you'll learn about what makes a good chai, hear Jess use the word 'feeble' (which should be used more, I think), and learn how to create the perfect forkful of food (including 'green stuff' and 'red stuff').

I hope to shoot more of these, to get practice at film making and editing and stuff. And also to have fun with most excellent friends, which is the main point.

Not all audiobooks are equal

Christian Audio has a pretty decent selection of Christian audio books (uh, hence the name). I've downloaded a few books lately because although podcasted sermons are a pretty good length for my commute (I usually get through a Tim Keller or 2/3 through a Mark Driscoll, depending on how ranty he's being), I felt like I wanted something a bit longer to think through.

What I am realising, however, is just because someone is a preacher and has written a book doesn't necessarily make them a good audiobook reader/performer/narrator. Case in point is Francis Chan and his book Crazy Love. While I'm listening to it, I think the content is great, but once I stop listening, I honestly couldn't tell you what it's about (I could say God's crazy love for us, but that would be a superficial cop out). The reason? Chan's delivery is so measured and almost monotonous at times, that my mind wanders and/or I start to get a bit sleepy, which isn't ideal. I had a brief look on youtube for footage of him preaching, and he is animated and interesting. Reading is obviously a different style of delivery to preaching, and just slows him down too much. Also he asks the listener to stop and watch various videos, or to reflect on what he's been talking about, which is harder to do while driving. So I think that one might be a better book to actually read and meditate on.

So this morning I downloaded this month's free book from Christian Audio, The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler. Chandler doesn't read the book himself, and the person doing it has a gift for reading in an engaging way. I really enjoyed my drive today because I got to think about God's majesty and creativity. I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.

I recommend downloading it while it's free, even if you don't have time to listen to it now. You might come back to it later. Here's the trailer: