|trivial tales from someone who's always in it|
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Sometimes It's a Good Idea to Just Count Your BlessingsThis is doing the email rounds amongst our friends in WA. I'd like to thank them very much for sending it over to us. It's been at least two weeks since I had any nightmares worth mentioning.
Click to get the image on a separate page, then right-click for full-sized horror. Enjoy!
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I'd Still Rather SmokeI normally enjoy talking to my mother the Dowager Empress but recently I've been dreading making the call. At some point she'd be bound to ask me how my knitting was getting on and then I'd have to tell her that I fucked up an entire sleeve and threw the whole thing to one side in disgust and have since been doing my best to forget I'd ever bought any accursed knitting paraphernalia by taking up recreational alcoholism instead.
The Dowager Empress, you see, is an incredible knitter. She's done it all her life. It brings her enormous satisfaction but it's also becoming increasingly difficult because she has arthritis in her hands. The ring finger of her left hand 'locks' if it's held in the same position for any length of time. Watching your mother struggle to straighten her offending digit and then have her thrust it into your face with, "Here, you try!" is a rather unnerving experience. And I bet you thought knitting was a harmless pursuit.
I must've been around six or seven when the Dowager Empress taught me how it was done. Up until that point I'd been happy to click a couple of needles together, assuming that some sort of garment would magically appear in due course. She was very patient and I learned a lot ... like how to cry from mingled frustration and rage whenever I dropped a stitch (which was often). And after knitting my first jersey -- a vile creation in fluorescent orange -- I learned I should do my best to be rich when I grew up so I could buy jerseys that someone else had knitted.
When I told my mother I'd recently reacquainted myself with the needles, she was ecstatic. It was the best news I could've given her, short of returning to the bosom of Mother Church. "We can send each other pictures of what we've done!" she enthused.
Yeah, right. In the time it's taken me to fuck up the sleeve of a baby's cardigan, she's churned out three completed garments, wonky finger nothwithstanding. So, as I said, I was kind of dreading the status report I knew she'd want.
"The whole sleeve? I hate it when that happens," she said. "So what did you do?"
"Nothing. Chucked it to one side."
"Why don't you just leave it and start something new?"
"Yeah, why not? You'll go back to it eventually. Forget it for the meantime and do something else. That's what I do when I mess up a pattern."
So, after that very brief respite, I'm back knitting again. There's no escape. Thanks to all those friends and family members who insist on producing offspring, I'm going to be up to my ears in 4-ply for a very long time. I'll end up one of those old bats who have drawers full of bootees with embroidered doggies and pussy-cats on them. I'll knit frog costumes for toddlers. I'll even make those hats with the little stalks that are so fashionable right now and who knows ... I might even stop gagging.
Parents will love me, their kids will hate me, my fingers will eventually freeze into talons and, when I die, grieving fans will knit a big fluffy scarf to keep my tombstone warm.
God, I wish I'd never given up smoking.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
MaturityNow that the Dreamboat's feet are accompanying mine in a stately but joyful tread through the fourth decade of our lives, I feel I can finally talk to him as an equal. As a fellow adult. That giddy thirty-nine-year old I married eight months ago has crossed some threshold or other and disappeared forever. In his place proudly stands a ... MAN.
Yes, my superheroes -- a MAJESTIC man in his PRIME, with a great big goddamned SUNSET behind him, just like in The Lion King but without the lions and all that Hakuna Matata shit.
Witness how far our relationship has advanced in less than a week:
Scene: We're sitting in front of the television (like all grown-ups, we now refuse to call it the 'TV' and only watch it for its educational value). An enthusiastic young man dressed like Steve Irwin and carrying a large python comes on and exhorts us to visit a local wildlife sanctuary. The Dreamboat looks and listens thoughtfully. Then he turns to Your Correspondent ...
Dreamboat: That guy there's your boyfriend.
Niki: He is not. See that snake? That snake's your lover. (pause) And that koala? It lives in your bum.
I expect we'll progress to fighting over which ad belongs to whom, any day now.
Monday, June 20, 2005
"We Have the Best Friends in the World ..."So said the Dreamboat in our Sydney hotel room yesterday morning, as he hunted for painkillers and Berocca and winced a great deal.
He was right. We do. More on that later.
For now, though, I give you The Perfect Weekend in Melbourne and The Perfect Weekend in Sydney ... Mr & Mrs Dreamboat-style. Bear in mind that these were special occasions. We're not always this bloody decadent. Unfortunately.
Why We Went There in the First Place
Melbourne: Awards ceremony for writing competition
Sydney: The Dreamboat's 40th birthday festivities
Where We Stayed
Melbourne: An exquisite B&B overlooking an olive grove in the Yarra Valley. The standard of this sort of accommodation in Australia is pretty high -- particularly in areas like wine regions, where the competition's fierce -- but, all things considered, I think the Citrus Studio at Grovedale Olives is the best B&B we've ever stayed in. The place is gorgeous, breakfast provisions are generous and hosts Vonnie and Steve are genuinely nice people with interesting stories to tell. Their three sons are cool, too. Was it worth getting up at 4:00am to catch a plane here? You bet.
Sydney: A five-star hotel in the CBD with the mandatory towelling robes and phone in the dunny but no hairdryer. Stylish rooms and friendly, attentive staff who seemed pretty relaxed about our checking out an hour late, although the woman who came to inspect the minibar while we were still in bed didn't believe the Dreamboat's assertion that we'd only taken a bottle of water: "I come in and look. You drink wine, maybe." She was politely instructed to bugger off.
Where We Ate
Melbourne: Eleonore's Restaurant at Chateau Yering, Yarra Valley. I'd forgotten that when they say 'fine dining' in Victoria, they really mean it. Outstanding food, massive wine list and wonderfully efficient, snooty-as-hell service. Sometimes you don't want to be best friends with the people serving you. There was no chance of that happening at Eleonore's; our waiter hated every fibre of our being. Everyone should have this sort of dining experience at least once in their lives.
Sydney: Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont. Sometimes you just get really lucky. Your Correspondent was trying to find a centrally-located restaurant for the Dreamboat's birthday dinner with a separate function area and oodles of style and lo! de Groots Best Restaurant Guide led me to Doltone House and its wonderful Manager, Marino. The food was delicious, the service was out of this world and the cost was damned reasonable. We loved this place and, from what we heard, so did our friends. We'll be back ... and we'll bring a posse.
What We Did When We Weren't Eating or Getting Drunk
Melbourne: Picked olives with around fifty other people. It just so happened that our weekend at Grovedale coincided with harvest time. We didn't start early enough to be really useful, but we still managed to divest one tree of its four hundred or so little green and black buggers destined for the cold press. Afterwards, there was a party, complete with live entertainment from young but oh-so-talented band The Shades, homemade woodfired pizzas and far too much red wine.
Sydney: Spent the better part of a day shopping on Oxford Street in Paddington. Your Correspondent has declared on many occasions that she hates shopping but Oxford Street is something of an exception. Spending far too much money there is an obligation, not a matter of preference. If you try to resist, you're either struck dead or turned into something small, boring and unfashionable with crocheted edges in the world's most depressing shade of tan.
Surreal Moments - Runners Up
Melbourne: Being approached by a woman at the olive harvest party:
Her: I hear you flew down for the Alan Marshall Literary Award.
Me: Yeah, but I ended up not going.
Her: I won it last year.
Sydney: Being recognised by the artist in the Paddington Market who sold us one of her works six months ago: "I know you. You've been here before. You have a wide smile."
Surreal Moments - Winner
Sitting with the Dreamboat, my little brother and three of our friends in a Kings Cross (Sydney) cafe/bar that looked like the front room of someone's house, drinking a carafe of cheap red wine out of matching china tea-cups at 4:00am.
Best Breakfast in Town
Melbourne: The Hot Poppy Cafe Bar, Errol St, North Melbourne. Two-and-a-half years it'd been since we last breakfasted here and we no longer recognised any of the staff but the food and the service were as good as ever. The place is tiny, none of the outside tables and chairs match, patrons bring their dogs, their babies and their weekend papers, and the vibe is quintessentially funky Melbourne.
Sydney: Micky's Cafe, Oxford St, Paddington. Always busy, always buzzing, the noise level is ridiculous and the floor-space is so congested it's not funny ... yet somehow it all works brilliantly. If you're brunching here on a Saturday or Sunday, don't expect to be in and out again in a hurry. The food's great, the service is friendly and efficient and you might spot the occasional minor TV celeb stuffing perfectly-prepared Eggs Benedict into his/her mouth, just like the rest of the common rabble.
What We Loved Most
Melbourne: Everything about the place where we stayed.
Sydney: Seeing so many of our friends again. We have the best friends in the world, you know ...
Update: Okay, all you hip Sydney eastern suburbanites, what on earth happened to my Fringe Bar on Oxford St? We walked past on Saturday at 3:00pm and it was shut. And it looked empty inside. And then I felt empty inside. Surely it can't have closed down? Say it isn't so ...
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Today Was the Dreamboat's 40th BirthdayWhich must be why I spent over five hours preparing food this afternoon and am now drunk.
So kindly excuse me. It's late and there's a geriatric on the premises needing to be tucked in for the night.
Pash an old bloke? Of course I would. I'm not proud.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Lo, She Hath Returned to Her Cherished Blog, Proudly Bearing the Scars of Her Recent TravailsActually, it's not so much 'scars' as 'a bruise'. A big bruise, let me stress, which begins at the base of my right thumb and goes all the way down past my wrist. I scored this technicolour accessory last Sunday night after trying to climb a steep hill in the dark while very drunk. I thought I'd broken my nose as well and was disappointed to discover it had merely been knocked around a bit. Not even any discolouration to show off. It's a worry. How will people ever appreciate my commitment to making an absolute tit of myself at every opportunity when there's no physical evidence to prove it?
Anyway ... sorry about the absence of late, but what with more radio work, a weekend in Melbourne, continuing intrusions into our lives by potential property investors, attempts to organise the Dreamboat's birthday party in Sydney next weekend and then the loss of our internet access for four days, everything's been a bit frenetic.
Yet you'll be pleased to know that in the midst of it all, Your Correspondent still manages to radiate an almost unearthly serenity. Her ravishing beauty shines undiminished. Benevolence without end flows from the unsullied splendour of her soul ...
Actually, she drinks like a fish and howls the unspeakable agony of her tobacco deprivation into an uncaring firmament at least once a day. But enough of pain. Let's talk about Melbourne.
Nominated for stuff in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Australian Blog Awards.
This means I should be taken very, very seriously. You hear me? Very.
meditate on this, Noddy
Hurley: Maybe the dog can find water. I mean, dogs can find pot and bombs, so I'm sure they can find water.
Created by JJ Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof
Niki (Your Correspondent): a shy, retiring, sweet sort of soul who wouldn't say boo to a goose. Born in NZ of Irish parents, jumped across the ditch to Oz in 1998. Hates cabbage and has always craved a life of complete obscurity. So far, this wish has been granted. Dammit.
Karratha, Western Australia ... again.
from the cheap seats
"This person is not a team player."
High school Biology teacher
"... an idiot."
The Dowager Empress
"... powerfully irritating."
A former spouse
"... dangerously mischievous."
current attention grabbers
Curling up with:
The View From the Valley of Hell
Drowning out the world with:
Your Favourite Driving Songs
Staring fixedly at:
Directed by Jonathan King
Trying hard to:
Reassure The Cat about The Dog
other recommended blogs
Bad News Hughes
John Howard: P.M.
S.A.F.E. (Saving Animals From Euthanasia)
Bert Is Evil
Ask Sister Rossetta
the good old days
webrings and cliques
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