Thursday, November 29, 2012

Essayons...That's All You Can Do

It was a tough lesson to learn and one that cost my friend dearly. One that I lament also, because three years of almost daily contact is about to slide into even fewer Skype encounters, texts and calls. Contact reduced largely to a friendship via Android until he gets back on his feet once more.

Yes he's able to spoil every photograph - quirky, arrogant, eloquent, intelligent, tipsy, argumentative, rude, creative, frustrating but...

He’s been in LA for almost two and a half years. The first year, dedicated to cementing relationships, getting on his feet, finding his bearings, honing his craft, writing furiously, engaging with contacts, producers, actors, mentors, and generally getting himself established; itself a full time job. This man is a fine storyteller and a very good script writer. The second year, after a visit to Australia followed by prolific production and a short period of ill health culminating in an operation, he realised that if he’s going to make it in Tinsel Town as a writer and producer, he needed to get his skates on. And a flurry of activity began.  Poetry and prose were traded for scripts, his beloved Tenth Daughter of Memory blog closed. A novel he’d written turned into an amazing feature screenplay and things were beginning to buzz. Lots of contact with old friends and new, creative like-minded souls, red carpet openings and the apparent interest of producers famous and unknown. 10 Short film scripts, negotiations with SAG actors and crew, furious networking and the seeking of mentors. By July 2012, he was buoyant. Running out of funds but frantically busy. One of which held such promise as a recognised Hollywood producer. Most of all, he was happy, positive, optimistic; everything was coming together. Our conversations were varied, he was funny, intelligent, chatty and I looked forward to racing home each evening to catch up on the events of his day. So exciting compared to the banality of mine.

Over the past three months the reality of ‘making it’ in a town full of false promises, shallow people and abject vanity began to show. The mentors weren't forthcoming, deals fell through, contracts were dubious. The slow reality of becoming known as a paid writer, gave way to mounting debt.  I watched the enthusiasm fall from his face. I saw the disappointment in his eyes, the exhaustion take its toll. There was a palpable change in his temperament from uplifted to jaded, something few of his Hollywood friends recognised despite a barage of not-so-subtle hints on Facebook. Most of all, I recognised the familiar apathy returning  as he said “I don’t care…” More often than I cared to hear it.

Finally, totally out of funds and in more debt than he can service, (most of it inherited from someone else) he’s had to pick up sticks. Two short films have been scheduled. One already shot and
in post production, the other in pre-production and ready to film on 8th December with an almost impossible completion deadline of 3rd January.
His crew and co-writer working frantically to put it together as an entry in Australian Tropfest. 

He couldn’t be leaving at a worse time. Hopefully, the global village that we are, will allow him to stay in touch via internet and phone and to help drive this project forward. It was a labour of love and I’ve seen with my own eyes, the level of effort that has had to be made to bring it this far. Jeff, is beyond exhausted. The film, "Imaginary Friend" has just reached it's minimum target, but if you're interested in seeing this dream fulfilled, feel free to lob a few bucks at the boys. I have a selfish interest in as much as the Director/Producer get to travel over for the festival if they're selected as finalists.

I love this man, because he is my dearest male friend (other than my son of course), because for three years, he’s been my constant companion on Skype, and for a while in person. I am devastated that he has to leave. Then leaving isn’t the big thing for me. Wherever he goes, he’s still on the other side of the world. The devastation comes from his inability to service his debt quickly so he’s looking at the most high risk occupations because they offer the highest and fastest returns – the fastest route to sating the appetites of voracious creditors. 

In another life, and long before I knew him, he was a soldier, a combat engineer, a paratrooper. He’s now seeking contract work detonating land mines in Afghanistan and I can’t tell you how that makes my heart bleed. Especially, since at one point this year, he was coming to visit for three weeks over Christmas. I still hold a vain hope that he might make it, given that the timeframe for this application might take a couple of months. I know in my heart it’s unlikely, very unlikely, and I fear I won’t see him for another year, or at worst, ever again except via my computer screen. The attraction of high risk jobs in warzones? Tax free income, food and board and a quick ass way to reduce debt, for those who have the right skills.

On Thursday, he heads home to sort his affairs. Drop off his gear, go through the motions of becoming suitable for such work and worst of all, finding homes for his beloved animals. I know how much that’s going to hurt. I’ve seen it before when he  had to leave two of his dogs behind to go to LA in the first place. Even though they’re well cared for, he misses them. Misses them dearly. The job in a dangerous place isn't a given but it's his best hope getting back on his feet. Besides, what boy doesn't like to blow shit up!

Part of me wants to hug him, braid his hair and tell him it will be alright. Part of me wants to berate him for not getting part-time work while he was in Hollywood. Part of me wants to slap him and tell him not to put his life at risk, and part of me knows that he needs money, fast, and that a dangerous occupation is probably the only way he can do that without losing everything. Probably the only thing he’s really highly qualified to do, other than write. Part of me also knows that he has a craving for risk and adventure and mountains and travel, this way he satisfies those lusts.

I know he'll keep in touch. I know he'll message and Skype me when he can.  

So Jeff, keep your wits about you, your spirits up and know that you are loved across the pond. It'll be interesting to see how much of Tinsel Town stays true. 

Tonight he told me "...most will stay friends for a week!' 

I didn't respond but I know which ones will. Not I, my friend. I'm here for the long haul. Then with most of my evenings free....perhaps I'll join a drum circle, or start blogging.

This is not so much a lament but a warning to those who venture in to Hollywood with stars in their eyes. It has little to do with how 'good' you are, or even who you know, it's about having the financial backup to fulfill your dreams and persist. Perhaps he'll go back, perhaps it's time for a whole new start.
Essayons Jeffrey, things will work out fine. I know you feel bottom of the barrel right now, perhaps that's what draws us together. 

"Let us try!" That's all we can do.

On the set of his soon to be completed short film "Dog" with the 'model' who played dead dog Starbuck.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Week of Weirdness and of No Particular Interest to Anyone

It's been a strange week. I have a visitor who's been working on Cruise ships but originally from the US. He's young,love-sick and depressed over a recent relationship breakup and killing time before heading home, or on some other adventure. It's hard to mend a wounded heart, especially when there's (in my opinion) little hope of short term repair. I feel very sad for him and just want to hug him all the time but don't want to make him cry. Anyway, I'll keep him busy until he heads, moves forward or whatever.

I've been estranged from my brother, 2 years my junior, since he moved out six years ago. Yesterday this lean figure wondered up to the shed, fiddled around a bit, then strolled back. It was him. Older, shakier, thinner. The once long mane of chestnut hair, cropped and balding. His moustache and goatee, decidedly grey. He's finally completing the house that he started six years ago, up in the blue mountains and checking out some furniture he'd left behind. It was a reconciliation of sorts. Uncomfortable, awkward but we exchanged numbers, I gave him a warm hug and I promised to visit once he'd moved in about three weeks from now. I hate family rifts and mine's been rifting for a variety of reasons over the past few years. It was good to connect and hopefully, the start of a better relationship between us. I thought he'd 'divorced' his family but I think he's ready to somehow rekindle what was once a close relationship. Hope floats.

We had a baby. Well my nephew's wife had a baby. They live next door and today, Charlie Dunn (also my father's name), all 8.1lbs of him comes home to cause havoc. He took a while to reach the world as his mum was induced on Tuesday night, then had a caesar the following Wednesday but all worked out in the wash and my youngest brother and his wife are now the first grandparents in our generation. I'm just glad it wasn't me!

Had an intense meeting with a large developer who banged on about joint ventures and putting powerlines underground. All it would cost is $165,000. My reaction? "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......" Yep, I left the meeting early before I burst into tears at the apparent hopelessness of selling this bloody block. Then had a call from a real estate agent who has an 'offer'. I'm not holding my breath, this particular agent is very naive so we'll meet on Monday and I'll give him the lay of the land so to speak. See if his buyer is still interested.

My laptop USB died. This is a problem because I can't upload photos or use my wireless headset when I'm talking on Skype. So, Bill the local computer guy came and fixed it. The $210 quote ended up being $407, more than the damn thing was worth so I went crazy on credit and bought a new desktop. I know, silly purchase given my financial situation but hey, I'll claim it on tax somehow and finally have a stable and reliable platform for my online shenanigans. I miss the discipline of sitting in front of a screen, in a stationary position. I haven't written a word since for months so hopefully, the regimen of just getting into position will get the juices flowing. Bring on November and the return of The Tenth Daughter of makes me write, it makes me happy.

Finally, my company has designated a three week compulsory leave period over Christmas. This is awesome and problematic. It will use up my entire paid leave entitlement at a time of year when everyone seems to be on holiday or out of the country. But, if a certain person pulls his finger out and comes to visit. Could end up being a delightful summer break.

So...enough about's weirdness in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

And....We're Back...sort of

A few months ago, I closed a site that had encouraged me to write - about everything - due to waning interest. Constraints of time, dissatisfaction with the format and well, some imagined intimidation at being 'judged' for your work (which I like actually) caused interest to dwindle. Since then, a few of us have been flailing in the world of writing and miss the challenge and contributions. My point? The Tenth Daughter of Memory is returning and this is as good a place as any to let you know that JeffScape has decided to attempt a relaunch of sorts.

However... things have changed.

The new system in mind provides longer periods of both submitting and voting, as well as limits the types of entries a specific Muse will accept.  The system, so far, looks wonderful on paper, but it is obvious to those involved that said system will undoubtedly run into problems.

Which means what, exactly?

Which means that, starting in November, The Tenth Daughter of Memory is going to launch a 3-cycle "beta test" to try out the next system, with the hopes of having a full relaunch in time for the "4th Annual River of Mnemosyne"  challenge.

The beta test will be all-volunteer and done in private, and, well, we need volunteers.

Anyone interested in either participating or administrating, please email us at

Having written bugger all for the last few months, I for one am delighted that it's being revived. Bigger, better, simpler? Who knows but it's one helluva ride. Come join in the fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who knew? I have a life!

I guess I haven't been blogging that much because I felt that I really didn't have a very interesting life or anything fascinating to say. Until I started filing my photos on Flickr and realised that actually....I have quite a rich life and at least one or two extra curricular excursions beyond heading to Bunnings for house paint or doing the laundry.

 The past month has seen me meet up with bloggers VE and Wifey Poo, who managed a day in Sydney before a two-week foray into North Queensland. Despite the queues for the Ferry to Manly on a beautiful Sunday, we spent a few hours chatting, eating and walking just to keep the poor darlings awake (they arrived at 5:15am and couldn't get into their hotel until after 2!) Sorry, no photos since it was Wifey Poo's camera that took the shots so I guess you'll have to wait until they get back from their ballooning, white water rafting and shark dodging.

Last week met up with yet another blogger but since it's her fifth trip to Australia and the third time we've connected, Jenny is more a friend than just a cybername. Unfortunately, her visit was way too short and minus the lovely time folks, let's throw an oversized shrimp on the barbie.

Also caught up with a previously unmet friend of a Friend during the Sydney Writer's festival. The festival was rather coincidental but it made the Walsh Bay area in Sydney abuzz with activity and a few famous faces. Dustin doesn't blog but he's a fantastic photographer with a lovely e-book for iPad, check it out if you're into travel and stunning visuals.

On the home front, I've been feeding a skinny horse all sorts of magic potions and have just realised that the best weight gaining potion (as with people I guess) is vegetable oil. He's coming on nicely. Photos later when it's warm enough to bear the trickle of cold water down the inside of my arm - yes, he needs a bath.

Chickens. We have chickens. Not mine but when you live next door to the chicken owner, the birds do not know that my house is a no go zone. They're beyond tame and how a dog or fox hasn't nibbled them by now I'll never know, their only saving grace? Being locked up securely after dark. Shirley particularly, is my favourite.

Of course if you don't live under a rock, you know I've been spruiking the first short film to be made by a friend. It's now in post production and hopefully will be making the festival rounds before Christmas. It's been a learning curve for the filmmakers and a labour of love. If things pan out the way they should, Jeffscape will be bringing my digital copy at Christmas.  God knows they didn't get paid for it but I'm so proud of them and their efforts.

Of course there's been connections with the family. Now that I'm an empty nester, I hate not having my kids at home but they're around regularly or more likely, I'm around at their place regularly. Time for me to spill coffee on their carpet and eat them out of house and home.

So, pedestrian as it is, this is my life of working 9-5, engaging with family, farm animals, lunch and meet-ups. Until next time.

 Circular Quay Ferry Terminal...took VE and Wifey Poo to lunch in Manly. They paid which was rather nice!

Speaking of family connections, my niece in law is due in 2 weeks. How that huge thing is going to slide between those tiny hips remains to be seen!

Lunch at Ripples, Chowder Bay with my best friend in the world who yes, is marginally older than me at 56 already. Sucks to be you Thommo...(Oh hai...that'll be me on the 16th October. How did I get to be so friggin' old?)

 This is Shirley

And this is Dustin, with Clare of course....currently working on cruise ships in the Atlantic
And yes, Adam still cooks while Clare pretends to get her fingers dirty but the Pasta Machine has been getting a workout lately.

And last but by no means least, my beloved Sydney Swans nailed the AFL premiership. Happy doesn't cut it. I'm over the moon.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And They're Away!

You all probably are aware that Jeffscape is making a short film. One of many but the first and it's bloody awesome. They underestimated the cost a little and are still appealing for funds, so close but poor man's reduced to eating pot noodles after having invested heavily with money he doesn't have. So take a look at the teaser and please, if you have a penny in your pocket, spare a little for their Kickstarter. I have a good feeling about this, I think it's the beginning of something great.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Int Pit!

Alright you whingers. A few loyal followers have been asking me to post which makes me feel just a little loved. Since I'm vain and like the adoration, here goes.  

I work for a large mining/quarrying company and we're building a graniodorite quarry in the NSW Southern Highlands. It's a 2 year contract, expiring in November 2013. Basically we're blowing a big hole in the ground and putting in a load of automated crushers and conveyors to make concrete aggregate, road base, rail base etc. I'm the Project Administrator for a team of engineers. All of whom I like immensely with the exception of one. There's always one. Although in this case, he's just an old grandpa (even though he's only 2 years older than me), with a huge misogynistic chip on his shoulder. Fortunately, I don't report to him so just ignore him. The best bit? I get to go on site once a month, wear uber sexy hi visibility gear and super comfy steel capped boots and feel like one of the boys. I love this reflective stuff. Sadly, my office job isn't busy enough and I spend most of my day bored, unable to access Facebook or Blogs and just staring blindly into spreadsheets. 
On another note:
I'm attempting albeit poorly to launch into some sort of writing field and my main avenue to hone my skills is no longer around. . Unfortunately, dwindling interest in our writing blog The Tenth Daughter of Memory has seen it close down. The links are still there so if you fancy a short story now and then, go have a look. They're weird, wonderful and always challenging. 

So, your task should you choose to accept is to find me and my three remaining writing pals, a site with a difference. One that doesn't have a thousand sycophantic "OMG I love your poems" comments. One where people actually read your work. One that offers critiques for writing. One that might be a little competitive and hey, even perhaps a theme or two to spark off the imagination. I need the pressure of a challenge and the discipline of critical analysis to keep up the writing. Perhaps I'll do what Tom's doing and create a Blurb book for posterity...then again...I should probably do that Grammar course.
See you when the wind breaks.

Big diggery thing (Excavator) and big rock crushy thing

Beginnings of big silo crushy thing, made in Portugal

Mine site in the middle of nowhere

Pretending to blow stuff up
The man who loves blowing things up after he's blown things up

Blowing things up

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fuckwit(s)

I once wrote a story about a man who got himself into a bit of strife with the wrong woman but more than one Chinese policeman managed to emerge red faced after a daring rescue.

The phrase "inflated body count' took on new meaning for 18 cops in China's Shandong Province who worked together to save a sex doll they thought was a drowning woman. (No shit...cos we all look the same to them?)
The incident happened July 11 when officers responded to a report that there was a lady in distress in one of the province's rivers. The crew worked frantically for nearly an hour to rescue the woman, according to Digital Journal, and in the process, attracted a crowd of about 1,000 curious, excited and anxious spectators to the scene.
It took more than 40 minutes before the officers were able to recover the pleasure toy.

After confirming that they had indeed run around in a panic for nearly an hour over trying to rescue someone’s blow-up girlfriend, the police presented it to the anxious crowd, who quickly covered their children’s eyes and walked away.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fuckwit

Alright, six bloggers did donate to the Kickstart for Dog and I promised them a Friday Fuckwit. I was torn between the teenager in America's south who swam in aligator infested waters and wondered why one of these highly territorial but normally calm predators decided to nab a forearm and death roll him for dinner....seriously son? Shouldn't you have avoided the murky waters and gone for a dip with the floaters and toddlers in the local pool.. you fucking idiot. I hope you're left handed.

But's Darwin Award and dual Friday Fuckwit goes to the knob who decided that playing with oversized pussycats after hours was a good idea.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, an unnamed 20-year-old Afghan man was killed by tigers in the city's zoo after he climbed a fence and crossed a moat into the animals' enclosure, early this morning.
He was found dead, surrounded by three Siberian tigers when the zoo staff arrived for work.
It is unknown unclear why the man entered the tiger area, but police have not ruled out suicide.
According to the Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet, the young man lived alone in a flat near his family in central Copenhagen and was just about to finish high school.
Superintendent Lars Borg told Ekstrabladet: "We received an emergency call at about 7.30am that a person had been found lying in the tiger pen and that three tigers were surrounding that person."
"The tigers attacked him and killed him. It is likely that a bite to the throat was the primary reason for his death. He has been in the water and the animals must have seen that and attacked him."

Perhaps it was a better alternative than landing on Christmas Island in a leaky boat and waiting to be processed in a detention centre in Australia.

Have a great weekend folks and don't forget to support the yarts and give the price of a cuppa to my darling man....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An apology
I am often a needy biatch and a paranoid idiot. I don't know where this insecurity comes from and it passes as quickly as it takes me over but I hate it. I used to be a confident, happy, resourceful and capable person - and in many ways - I sometimes am. But lately, whether it's mood swings, my lot in life, the sadness of a dreary winter, the patronsng attitude  of some, empty nesting, empty pockets or just plain nicotine withdrawal; I have become a whiny bitch and an overthinking paranoid idiot. It's something I'm working on but in the meantime, please be patient with me.  I'm sorry to Jeff who is infinitely patient with me at the moment and to Siobhan because I am sometimes a Skype witch and she deserves better.  Apologies to my children for being a negative sour puss and an anti-social freak. I will have the outlaws over when the sun shines, I promise.  I am making a conscious effort to overcome whatever it is that's gripping me these days. Happiness is a state of mind and sometimes I feel like I'm losing mine.

An Appreciation
A good start would be a few thank you's.  Huge thanks to those who contributed to the Dog Kickstart. Some of the people I haven't met but know through the blogs, some who have never heard of Jeffscape and some who I haven't seen for a very long time. It's been quite a surprise to see who's come forward and I would be lying if I wasn't a little disappointed in those who I thought might have supported someone I care about so much, yet didn't. But, Ces la vie...thank you, thank you to those who donated so generously.  Mim, Karen Jasper, Karen Sagovac, Ashleigh, Rigmore,Sue, Patti, Ros ....There's still a few days for those of you who want to make this happen and be part of film making history. They've almost reached their minimum and are now aiming for $7500 to make the film truly spectacular.

A Promise
I will blog more often, visit more often, smile more often and exercise patience with those I love. I will curb my envy, squash my insecurities, be kinder, nicer, happier and look forward to the warmer weather because it isn't far away/ I'm not a very nice person to know at the moment. But things will get better.

...and yes...there will be a Friday Fuckwit..

Monday, July 02, 2012

Please Send Moneez

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted here. I guess the fact that I broke my arm on Good Friday then ruptured an extensor tendon five weeks later, means that I've been in a cast and splint for just about 10 weeks....there, that's April and May sorted...and now here we are half way through June.  My fingers are free, my wrist is a mangled mess and I have the scars to prove it but after my bully of a physiotherapist has finished manipulating the bejeezus out of my bones and causing me more pain than the original should get back to normal.

And before you ask. No, I haven't given up smoking...yet....although my role model has gone since March with only four nurrells smoked, and is lauding it over me nicely so...guilt will take it's toll even if sheer economics does not.
Not much to report, work, being a one armed invalid, working, hack writing on the other blog and mostly socialising with family and friends.  I'll let the pictures do the talking. So how are all of you? Or those who are left with me in their reader? I'm feeling a slightly renewed urge to blog...perhaps it will pass, but truth be told, I miss you all and a quick look back on the old girl and I kinda miss her too.

Although my reason for posting is less than altruistic. My darling boy, the light of my life Jeffscape has been hard at work writing scripts and screenplays. One of which is in pre production as a short film in preparation for the festival circuit. I've had a lot of faith in this guy's ability and it's been a long time coming seeing the puzzle piece together but now, with a fine team of film makers, producers, cinematographers and actors, he as the writer is ready to fledge. Please help them raise the tiniest bit of cash to fund this project.
You can invest, yes I said invest, as little as a dollar or as much as you want. Given that for the cost of a loaf of bread you could be part of something sweet, creative and with a message, should be it's own reward. They have a "Kickstarter" page where you pledge and leave credit card details via Amazon so it's safe, secure and if they don't make bank, no funds are deducted. If they hit their target, your card will be debited. They're already 30% there with a couple of weeks to go so please, if you have any interest in the creative arts, slip a coin in their virtual pocket. If only half a dozen of you help, I'll do a Friday Fuckwit for the next six weeks. And that's a promise.

If you can't see the Kickstarter Video, just click here

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Wish I Could Say That Everyone is Wrong

I’m not sure I believe in an addictive personality. But if they exist, I think I have one.  Then, I’m addicted to many things, or think I am. Hugs, contact, sex, manners, a particular someone, a modicum of behaviour, dogs…cigarettes.

I started smoking when I was 14 years old. Sneaking a Viscount filter down my bra before going riding with girls I no longer see. I was at a school for a single term while we were relocating (story of my life).  We’d ride across highways into the bush, down to a stream at the end of Loyalty Road in North Rocks. Let the horse splash in the creek, sit and talk as girls do about boys and horses and life as we knew it. "Have one" said my friend Kate, and eager for acceptance of new friends in a new state, I complied.  “Do the draw back.”

I gasped slightly at the burn. No cough, no choke. Had that happened I might have decided it was disgusting and stopped but I didn’t. I took to it like a fish to water. From then, sneaking behind the girl’s toilets at school. Stuffing the packet of 10 (when you could buy them) into my shirt. I remember my mother saying to me one day when I came back after only leaving the house for five minutes, “Forgotten your cigarettes?” Yes the jig was up. But that was the 70s and even into the 80’s smoking was acceptable, affordable.

I remember sitting at my desk at work. The whole office smoked. Inside! Inconceivable in this day and age.  Strangely, I gave up during each pregnancy but the best cigarette? Truly the finest fag…was the one I had after the delivery of each baby.  Well that and a cup of tea.

The most reminiscent times of my life included coffee with my mum…and cigarettes. Coffee with my dad…and cigarettes. Despite the health warnings, my peak flow is huge. I have good lungs.
My mother, a nurse, used to say that smokers recovered from surgery better because they were literally gasping for a gasper which made them mobile and travel up to the roof garden for a ciggie. Mobility after surgery being the first step to recovery.

Then the nanny state took over. Passive smoking became a bigger issue than climate change. Banned in the workplace, banned in restaurants, banned in pubs and clubs that didn’t have an ‘ostracism’ room with smacked up aircon and extractor fans, banned in sports arenas…BANNED. And me and the other pariahs of society banned with them.

Now, the only place I can smoke is in my own home or a narrow range of restaurants that have a ‘designated area’ for we nurrel indulgents. My kids hate it. My friends hate it. My in-laws hate it and worry for my welfare. But for years it gave me solace. Like a dummy to a toddler, that cool draw and burn provided comfort. I hate to admit it, but it is my crutch. I like it.

Smoking is supposed to affect your sense of taste and smell yet my sense of smell is acute. As is that of a couple of other smokers I know. If my sense of taste is affected…I don’t really want to taste ‘better’ since resisting life’s gastronomic pleasures is already a challenge. But I am sick of being relegated to the corner so to speak and I’m sure I can no longer afford to do it.

What changed? Well there’s the price. Here they cost around $18-$20 per pack of 25.  The disapproving looks. The inability to socialise and having to get up, go out and mingle with the other 'lepers' in the beer garden. And, support of my darling Skyman who's tried so often, for so long and failed. Perhaps we can support each other.

 So…this week, I’m down to about six a day. By the weekend hopefully 2 and by next Monday? Well I can’t promise but I can’t afford it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. So wish me luck. But seriously, if you’ve never smoked, don’t bother with platitudes. If you have and managed to give up…fantastic, I applaud you. The real reason....I want to travel, hike, walk, manage steps and mountains without being out of breath. I want to shame someone 20 years my junior with good health and verve. I don't want anyone to say (as I've heard) "My God there's nothing worse than an old woman smoking..."

Could be an empty promise. Could be an extra $400 a month on my credit debt.
Here goes…..

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tropical Climes and Wedding Chimes

Well as usual I've been a hopeless blogger and an even worse follower. Participating in the Tenth Daughter of Memory, River of Mnemosyne Challenge takes up my free time. Well along with the odd Friend's Christmas, girls pyjama parties (no, absolutely no photographs), dinners with friends and a lot of Skype and Facebook activity plus a 45 hour working week.

My family is now intact after Clare returning from a four month South American adventure and a soccer tour of Europe (yawn). 

The weekend of the 3rd February, my sweet niece Hannah married her lover. The weather was ominous. Flooding along the Pacific Highway, our main arterial road around the country and for a moment, we had worries that we'd not be able to make the six hour drive or worse still her outdoor wedding might be deluged. 

For anyone living with a bag over their head, the world's weather has gone crazy and for the past three months, we've had probably half a dozen summer days, the rest, torrential rain, cool temperatures and overcast skies. No risk of melanoma this year, that's for sure. It's wet, cool, gloomy and frankly a horrible summer. Then a Skype conversation with my Skyman and he's putting aircon on in LA at midday in the middle of February...go figure. My Dutch friend hasn't enough ice for their annual 200km skate event and London's bathed in snow.

But this was a moment of glorious sunshine even though it was a little grey. She is a gorgeous girl, radiant, cheeky, loads of fun, great company and marrying a man from one of those million acre properties you only hear about in far north Queensland. It was a fabulous wedding, a marvellous weekend at a rather nice resort in Coff's Harbour (although I'm not sure about the water dragons in the swimming pool or the turkeys that kept nibbling my toes every time I sat out in our little courtyard) and apart from a lot of driving with very silly people, good times. So, share the love and the critters.

Having said that, the Honeymooners have just posted on Facebook that Hannah caught a 2 metre shark on a handline.  She's a keeper I guess....

Our Apartment at Anuka Breakfree

Bush Turkeys...Everywhere

Poshed up

Dragon out of water

Hannah and the view

Indoors / Outdoors

The Prodigal Returns, slides and splashes

Hellooooo Possum

We hired it...Looks way smaller on the outside
Congratulations Mr and Mrs Paynter....May you mules often and string in the odd White Pointer . Love your bones kids. Now, Valentine's day is it not?   Happy one to you who have one. Commiserations to those of us who wish....then, be careful what you wish for.  And poo you who went to bed and left me with no Skypechat....bler.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Festival Time and The Weather's.....

Sydney Festival time and the weather's....ugh. Not sure what's going on this year but an unusual atmospheric event has seen us with cool temperatures, lots of rain and storms and no opportunity for a tan. But it's Festival which is awesome. Live sites, free concerts, lots of people and fun times to be had however, our public transport sucks and the Sydney City Council in their wisdom have decided to close the Harbour Bridge for the next three weekends for resurfacing. Now what clown made that decision? Still, its school holidays here so I guess the traffic's lighter.  Not much more to say so I'll let the pictures do the talking. I went to opening night last week and am toying with going to see Mike Patton and friends at the Domain tonight depending upon whether this cloud bursts or not!

Walking up Martin Place towards the Free Concert at the Domain

Occupy what?

Oh get a job you ferals

They travel in packs


Incoming fruit bats

Party times

Stage in the Domain...Manu Chao La Ventura / Washington / Gurrumul /

St Mary's Cathedral shows its stripes

The Club Bus in Hyde Park

Dancing in the Streets, Trocadero at Martin Place
On Patrol

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oirsh and Strine

I had to wait until they arrived home, but on the 28th December, I met up with a long time blog friend and his wife and a new time blogger who actually lives in Sydney but whom I've never met. Nick from Nickhereandnow has been in Australia before a couple of years ago with his lovely partner Jenny and we met for the first time then. Since, we've kept in touch and it was wonderful to see them both again, neither looking a day older. Both sunkissed and energetic despite a whirlwind tour around the great brown land. Nick and Jenny from Belfast, Kylie from  Eclectica in was indeed a pleasure.

Kylie, who's already met up with a number of LA bloggers last year including Megan and Leah just lives on the other side of the city so hopefully, we'll catch up again. And kudos to Kylie's son Liam who kept her company among a bunch of misfits (and for being the only other meat-eater and sharing a shaslik).  Thank you, it was a great evening, good food and fine company.

Jenny, Nick, Kylie

Bloggers three; Me, Nick, Kylie

Vegetarian feast....but I wanted a steak

Seriously, the best Turkish version of Salsa I've ever tasted

Pretty huh?

Seeking coffee in Newtown

Found Coffee in Newtown. Nick and Jen

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Two Weeks

Well hello there! Happy New Year. Hope you all had a dandy Christmas and are now working off the podgefest with a few ab crunches and a detox diet.  Today's the last day of 2 weeks leave imposed by a compulsory closure at work so here's a brief introspective:

Last day at the Quarry near Goulburn, NSW and we put on a barbecue for the Civil Contract boys. I was having dinner with a few that evening and telling a lovely man sitting next to me how much I liked a  photo of three filthy plant mechanics sitting on a rock....turned out to be the guy in the middle!

Men can barbecue apparently. However Engineers seem to have some trouble.
Steak came only one way.....incinerated!

Christmas with the Taylor/Bainbridge Clan.

Yeah we're a little 'touched'. The theme "Superheroes" was taken to the extreme with: Toxic Tinsel, Supa Santa, Bendy Elf, Rudolf the Nuclear Reindeer: Jungle Girl; Beer Man; and Hit Woman

Of course we had to Skype Clare Bear in the second half of her 4 month "What Country is That" trip. After 8 weeks in South America (Equador, Galapagos, Columbia, Argentina), then to London, Scotland, Newcastle, Manchester, Madrid, Granada, Seville, Barcelona and on to Berlin, Frankfurt, Not sure but can't wait for her to head home in Feb.

Lithuanian Christmas with the In-Laws.  They're awesomely hospitable and lovely people. I'm very lucky to have them in my life and they take Christmas VERY seriously. Their house is like the Rothenburg Christmas Shop and seriously, I can't do it justice but promised Siobhan some pics.

Their family room....there's more, so much more...

 I could do an entire post in this alone!

 Well done Dalia...21 people for lunch and it was fantastic. I resisted Vic's shots and managed not to fall over by the end of the night.

Great people, interesting food and a pile of hay beneath each plate. Apparently the man I'm going to fall in love with will be tall, thin and have a leaf growing out of his ear.

The Bainbridge in-laws' Christmas, low key but great people. Awesome fun. Congrats to my Nephew Jack who did really well in his HSC (our final school exam). 

And a great day for my MIL who had major heart surgery, not without its complications early this year, a wonderful opportunity to celebrate. Although I question the synchronised dropping of ice into your Champagne - a travesty I tell you!

The second week slightly marred when I went to fill the horses' water trough and tripped in a bloody rabbit hole. Instead of finding wonderland, I sustained a nice sprained ankle that saw me 'feet up' for three days watching porn for women.

Poor thing's insomnia works to my advantage! Thanks lovely boy,  for keeping me company while I've been off my feet

Lovely Merry Widow's daughter returned from London for five weeks to attend a friend's Wedding. The time went all too fast and culminated in a pool party of sorts on one of the few fabulous days we've had this December.

The ankle recovered enough to be strapped more tightly than a US air drop and, sustained me through the opening night of the Sydney Festival which commenced on the 7th January and runs for 2 weeks so hopefully, there will be more photos of goings on. We figure over 100,000 turned up for the free Concert in the Domain.

St Mary's Cathedral wore Zebra Stripes

Dancing in the streets to the Trocadero in Martin Place.

Well that's about it...Happy new year, may it hold all you wish for. Back to work on Monday.

Time to clean the lens, recharge the batteries and photograph 2012.

The end