Delilah: Scarfenger.

lilah

About a week ago, I was lying around being lazy.

Before we go to bed, we switch the animals: Wuz comes in and spends the night indoors, Delilah goes out and sleeps in the yard. They both hate it, they would much rather we didn’t, but those are the rules. Because someone might run away during the night and someone else still pees on the carpet occasionally.

Anyway, back to my laziness: it was my job to wrangle the animals and it sucks, because you have to catch Wuz while Delilah gets in the way and there’s barking and hissing and generally it’s a royal pain in the arse. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

As a joke, I turned to Delilah and said, “Hey Lilah, where’s Wuzzy?”

Her ears pricked, her body stiffened, we laughed.

Turns out the joke was on us: Delilah stood up, ran outside and herded Wuz in.

Maybe this is just a hilarious coincidence, we thought!

No, she now does it most nights.

She gets it: “Where’s Wuzzy” means “Go get the fluffy thing that hates you and bring her here”.

She now understands three things. The other two are:

“Walkies?” which makes her run to the bucket by the front door where her leash is.

“ATTACK!” which means, jump on the bed and run all over Julia until she gets out of bed. Only B uses this command, Monday to Friday.

Unfortunately she no longer comes when called.

In fact, on last night’s walk, she was off in the distance doing something and refused to come, so I had to go and drag her away from what turned out to be an abandoned pile of once hot chips. She was scarfing them down. We walked  on for about 20 metres, when she looked at us, grinned and ran as fast as her chubby butt would let her and ate the rest.

Treat motivated, her breeder told us.

I guess so.

Kar Krashing Up With The Kardashians

For the most part of this afternoon, I have felt ill. I’m not sure what’s causing it: the fact that I read my weekend roster incorrectly and instead of having a super long weekend, I am actually working, or that I accidentally forgot to take my blood pressure medication, or whether it’s the fact that I’ve been sitting in a tiny booth, accidentally huffing some extremely toxic paint smells from my newly arrived Kim Kardashian t-shirt.

This brings to two (2) the number of items of clothing I own that have Kim Kardashian’s face on them.

When they first learn of it, most people think my love of the Kardashians is somehow ironic.

They are wrong.

People huff and puff about the Kardashians being “famous for being famous”. Most of this huffing and puffing happens on Twitter where people hang out, hoping to gain followers and a book deal from their niche hot takes on the day’s events.

We all want to be famous for being famous for fifteen minutes.

My love of trashy pop culture is long held. I’ve had more success giving up smoking than I have Who Magazine.

I used to defend it by pointing out that I also read The Economist, before realising technically, I bought The Economist, but rarely did I read it.

Maybe I’m inherently nosy and the Kardashians are an ethically sound release for my anti-social desires.

Maybe I just like watching over-glossed pumped up lips.

Whatever it is, I am actually emotionally invested at this point, particularly with Khloe.

Khloe is the tall one, the Cosmo cover to Kim’s Vogue. The unlucky in love one, the one who agreed to film an anti-bullying video for a Perez Hilton campaign, but used the opportunity to point out how hypocritical he was. She’s the funny one, the one who takes care of her younger sisters and yells at her mum for being obsessed with Kim. She is the fun sister-in-law, buds with Scott and Kanye and definitely the least high maintenance.

She’s a tall girl who married an NBA player (Hello! Tall girl dream!) and I’ve probably cried more over the breakdown of that relationship than I have any of my own.

They’ve become a family I don’t have to live with, who I can fast forward through when they’re being boring, who I can lie in bed with without it being weird.

They are like McDonald’s for the brain, a warm fuzzy feeling for half-an-hour without any of the health risks.

Like a McDonald’s fiend, I do find myself having to lie about how often I partake. When asked, Quarter Pounders of viewing become just something I indulge in every now and then amongst salads of ABC News 24.

Like a McDonald’s fiend, you only have to look at me now to know I am lying.

A Boring Blog Post About Goals.

Yesterday I worked my second last shift ever for my old employer. I stayed on weekend shifts after I left to help out and probably did so a little longer than I intended. Uni starts in March and I decided I had to pull the plug so I could have some time off in February.

Normally the weekend shifts can be done at home, but much to my dismay, there was an issue connecting to a server and I had to go into the office.

The office itself is lovely, but stifling on the weekends when there’s no air conditioning and the shifts are more on-call than flat-out, so I had eight hours to kill and there’s only so many gratuitous photos of Josh that I could print out and stick to his monitor as a Monday morning surprise.

Instead I stared thinking about my goals for this year and narrowed them down to about five. Then I thought about how I motivate myself. I surprised myself by realising I am not rewards-based because I reward myself for everything. Get out of bed? Reward! Go to bed at the end of the day? Reward!

Delilah and I are both very treat-oriented, but not necessarily treat-motivated. We are over-treated.

The only thing that’s ever worked for me is the “Seinfeld Productivity Secret“. Give me something to cross off or colour in and I’m all about doing that.

I had a pretty specific idea about what I wanted it to look like so I bought PDFs of a goal planner and a weekly/monthly planner from etsy, tweaked them a little bit and created a book.

I wrote down the five things I want to do and why, stuck a motivational picture in there and then listed all the things I needed to do to achieve them all.

When I got home, I stuck a monthly planner for the goals that need me to do something almost daily up on a wall and each night, I’ll colour the day in if I did what I needed to!

There’s one up for doing the C25K again and another for guitar practice. It’s already made a difference because guitar practice is something I just forget until the Sunday night before a lesson, between work and walking the dog and dinner and a million other nightly things, but now there’s a big ol’ reminder there.

Another interesting this was looking through my old photos for the motivational picture for the C25K and weight goals.

I’ve had a really bumpy few years with weight. First I was chubby, then I lost a huge amount when the side effect of one of my medications was almost complete appetite loss, then my thyroid killed itself and a side effect was extreme weight gain and then the mental side effect of that was a compulsion to eat all of the snacks because why not?

I wanted to find something realistic, and I found this picture from almost exactly two years ago:

IMG_8475 This was post-no appetite, pre-thyroid.

I laughed when I saw it because I remember this outfit well. I called it my space mechanic outfit, like Kaylee from Firefly.

I also thought I was really progressive wearing it because I’d started gaining some weight back and thought I was too big to be wearing shorts.

I am perhaps not the best judge of my own appearance.

I’m not sure how much I’ll blog about goals here because I’m typically pretty bad at keeping resolutions or remembering to track them.

We’ll see.

Book no. 1 of 2015: The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Books

Because most of my Facebook statuses are about being a flailing idiot, they rarely stir any debate; however, over the weekend I gave the 2014 Man Booker Prize winner, The Narrow Road to the Deep North a one star rating and people either loved the rating, or the book, there didn’t seem to be any middle ground.

I’ve given books a one star rating a few times (on my Goodreads account, we’re not talking New York Times here) for a few reasons: blatant sexism (Hello, Bill Simmons!), dubious ethics surrounding the portrayal of real people (Dave Eggers, come on now!) and because there was just very little in the plot, characters or language that appealed to me and that is where I sit with a few books, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and now The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

I’ve had a few days to think about what was so unappealing about the book to me.

It felt like a raft of good ideas, lashed together very loosely without much thought given to whether some of them were dragging the raft down. In other words, it felt like a very early draft.

I’ve since read some press around the book’s release, that the drama of the plot is meant to revolve around a single day’s events and I actually had to stop and think, which day? The most often described is the meeting between Dorrigo and Amy, an intense moment in a bookshop that paled for me as soon as Flanagan began to explore the character of Amy further.

The moment in question is obviously meant to be the tragedy of Darky Gardiner, a passage in the book that is actually quite intense, but like much of the plot, Flanagan ruins it by beating his reader over the head with obvious symbolism, perhaps missing the irony himself that Darky Gardiner literally drowns in shit.

Amy is a red flower, Amy is passion, flowers are often symbolic of female genitalia, we get it Flanagan! Dorrigo is wildly attracted to Amy.

So was Dorrigo in love with Amy, or did he just lust after her? It’s never particularly clear.

By far the weakest moments in the book belong to those written from the point of view of the Japanese captors. Flanagan never really gets a handle on them, and as such, they wildly careen through the novel, probably best left in the depression of the jungle rather than followed haphazardly into old age.

In the last hundred pages, a literal bushfire symbolises Dorrigo’s destructive reawakening and several completely unconvincing coincidences turn the emotive passages about Darky Gardiner into a farce.

The whole plot could be tighter, moments of tragedy could be left unaltered by surprise discoveries and Flanagan could trust his readers to understand the unspoken meaning in much of the work.

Perhaps unfairly, I am following it up with a classic based in the same era, The Empire of the Sun.

Movies – Bourne Legacy

Because I am about to become a student in Sydney (read: poor), B and I have decided to implement a cheap-date-nights-in policy … which sounds like we’re being really responsible, except for the part where we weren’t really going on expensive-date-nights-out to begin with.

Nevertheless!

We’ve decided to rotate movie selections. One week we pick a movie together, the next one of us gets to pick one alone. Then we pick together, then the other picks alone, and repeat.

I predict I’m going to see a Robocop and that B is going to sit through hours of weird  sexual drama mysteries written by Don Roos.

On the weekend we watched Bourne Legacy, which I had seen about a third of at the cinema. There I was, lost in a revere about Jeremy Renner’s eyes and lips when I realised my phone was ringing, and when I checked it, I had nine missed calls from Dad.

Turned out my sister was really sick and was trying to get admitted to hospital and the wait in emergency was really long and he wanted me to go down there and cause a scene to get her admitted faster. I believe he actually said, “I know you can do it. Cause one of your scenes.”.

So I used to have a temper. I like to think it was kind of a Justice League temper and when I was a teenager … look, long story, just don’t ever tell my younger sister she looks like she’s wearing clown pants.

Point being, I’ve grown out of it and nurses are scary, so there was no way I was causing a scene and when I arrived, she’d been admitted anyway.

She got better and I never saw the end of Bourne Legacy until this weekend.

I enjoyed it, as I have all Bourne movies.

It’s like Bond except without all the weird female-friendly sex and penis-playing poker scenes.

After The Town, I would watch Jeremy Renner act in a toilet paper commercial (someone should get on that) and although the plot was a bit limp at some points (“Everyone you love would be better off thinking you’re dead. Cool?” “…Yeah, okay. Your soundproof logic has convinced me.”), how often are you going to see a tracking device put in a wolf? Hardly ever.

Additionally, it’s an excellent movie for playing Pick The Actor Who Went On To Have A Reoccurring Spot In Orange Is The New Black.

Bourne Legacy: goes well with home-made nachos and ice-cream with Ice Magic.

3/5

Emergency Marzipan!

I spent the last day of 2014 wandering around the city, trying to find a copy of Robert Hughes’s The Fatal Shore.

It is an impossible book to find and, annoyingly, a book I had access to for almost all the years I lived at home, but I just wasn’t interested in reading it then.

Dymocks on George Street lists it as being in stock, and twice now I’ve been caught out because “in stock” means: we have one copy, we just don’t know where it is.

I was predominantly in the city to renew my driver licence. I like to do it once a year so I have a tiny series of yearly hairstyles to track from the time I was a teenager. I showed up and was pleased to find barely any people, less pleased to discover that my licence was suspended because I had a $400 fine I knew nothing about. I’m not sure what the fine was for, it sounded like they said, ‘Failure to stop within ten metres of a traffic light’ but that doesn’t make any sense. In the end I had to pay them $100 to un-suspend my licence and set up a fortnightly payment plan for the rest of the fine.

After paying the $100, the gentleman at the counter told me I had a very good driving record and I could get 50% off my renewal fee, which is nice but not nice enough to make up for the fine.

All this because I have three days off work coming up and I’d booked a GoGet car because we’ve done nothing over the holiday period and I want to take Delilah to a friend’s BBQ and the beach this weekend and to Sydney Park.

It was a less than relaxing end to the year, tempered somewhat by sending B on a mission to the supermarket to buy me individually wrapped slices of Christmas cake with marzipan icing that are heavily reduced at the moment. He delivered.

Delilah is very much a fan of B. She has started to cry when he leaves her and we waited outside while he was on his marzipan mission and after she realised she was stuck with me, she sat between my feet for comfort and kept a close eye on B’s retreating figure.

What a little pumpkin!

Delilah

Guitar – Barre Chords

Last night I had my final guitar lesson for the year and I explained to Casey (who can be found here by the way, if you’re in the market for an amazing Sydney-based guitar teacher) what I would like to do with my lessons next year.

First, I need to practice more. That’s on me. Casey gave me a handy sheet that I can fill in every week with my focus for the coming week and I check it off each day I practice. Being a visual and list-driven person, this is perfect.

Second, I’m happy to jump around songs, but I don’t want to move away from any particular technique until I have it down pat. For example, I really need to focus on barre chords, so for the next however long, we’re only going to play barre chord-based songs. Which is problematic. Because I can’t hear barre chords in songs so I could suggest 500 songs to Casey and the only things I can guarantee you is they’re not going to be in 4/4 time, there’s probably going to be a capo involved and no matter how much the lyrics make me cry, they won’t move Casey to tears.

Third, I need to stop pulling monster faces every time I do something wrong. Not because they’re not completely endearing, but because they give my mistakes away and maybe I could sneak a few past Casey if I wasn’t grimacing (Kidding! He catches me every time.).

Fourth, and this will make Casey laugh, when the time comes and I feel like I have make progress on all of the above, I’m going to pick a song and get Casey to help me write an alt-country version of it. Much like Delilah, I am treat-focused.

+++

I find barre chords tricky, and they make my wrist sore (if I don’t practice enough) so we had to come up with some super fun songs to keep me interested.

I am a sucker for a saccharine melody so Veruca Salt ending up being the perfect choice. We’re going to switch between the newest VS song, ‘The Museum of Broken Relationships’ and good ol’ ‘Volcano Girls’.

Fiji, baby!

Me: “I want to go to Fiji.”

B: “Ok!”

Me: “I want to stay in a bungalow over the sparkling blue water.”

B: “Ok!”

Me: “Here is one, let’s just pop some fake, mid-year dates in for, say … one week!”

B: “…”

Me: “…”

B: “…”

Me: “$11,000, and I think that’s in US dollars.”

B: “…”

Me: “It’s ok, all is not lost, if I can’t stay in a bungalow over the water, can I drink a cocktail out of a pineapple?”

B: “Coconut.”

Me: “All is lost.”

New Year’s Resolutions Naysayers

Random Internet People: “New Year’s resolutions are dumb!”

Me: “I think having resolutions are a good idea!”

RIP: “Yeah but why wait for the start of a new year? Why not just start today? Or tomorrow?”

Me: “That would be fine, as would having them start on the first of January!”

RIP: “No, that would be dumb.”

Me: “Do you have any?”

RIP: “Hell no!”

Me: “I have a few. I’m going to finish the C25K. What do you think about that?”

RIP: ” … nothing.”

Me: “Aren’t you angry?”

RIP: “No?”

Me: “But I’m starting on January 1, not today or tomorrow!” *makes spooky ghost fingers*

RIP: “I don’t care what you do.”

Me: “But you think I’m dumb, right?”

RIP: “I don’t know, shut up okay?”

+++

I like New Year’s resolutions and I make them every year. Maybe one for this year will be finding out if ‘New Year’s’ is always capitalised, because I’m really not sure about that one.

I have discussed this with my psychologist before. Sure, it’s not necessarily healthy to do things like eat 14 tubs of ice cream every day until June 26th and then think to yourself, ‘Oh well! I don’t need to worry about stopping that until January 1st!’ but for a lot of people a new year brings new circumstances and things shift and change.

For me, the new year brings the start of a four day working week, which frees me up to do stuff like plan out a whole month of running. University is also something new, so I’ll need to shift things around to fit that in.

This time of year also means a lot of people are on holidays. For me that means reestablishing contact with people I haven’t seen much of in the whirlpool of 2014. It means having time to get back into reading books for book club (another resolution), catching up with Nic and learning about riding in Sydney (another resolution).

So while Random Internet People are squawking into the void of social media about how much they hate New Year’s resolutions (the capitalisation is starting to feel less and less correct here), as far as me and mine go? At the end of the year, maybe I’ll be a fitter, more reliable book club attendee with a kickass grade point average. a lady who cycles to work! Maybe I won’t be any of those things!

The only thing for certain is naysayers will always be shouting into the void and it doesn’t make a difference to me (resolutions on the other hand …).

Edit: Also? Always question people who try and tell you that something positive you’re doing for yourself is dumb. Ask yourself why, if it has no impact on them at all, they need to try so hard to make you feel bad about your choices. The answer is always interesting and almost all the time, never about you.

My True Love Gave To Me … 18 Hours of Blissful Sleep.

It seems 2014 has decided to be the first “adult” Christmas I’ve had. It’s Christmas Eve and I don’t even feel a sparkle of Christmas excitement.

I’m working until seven tonight and my ideal scenario is heading home, having some dinner with B and his siblings, a few drinks and then sleeping in really, really late tomorrow.

I feel like one of the plethora of dads in ’80s American young adult fiction, who works at a post office during the night and everyone has to tiptoe around in case they wake him up and he gets angry. On Christmas morning all the children huddle around the tree, while their nervous mother cooks pancakes in the kitchen. Finally the bedroom door creaks open and the father shuffles out: robed, five o-clock shadow, blue-black circles under his eyes and pauses at the sight of his four children (boy, girl, boy, girl always). They tremble with fear, and the youngest one (blonde, curls always) lisps, “Daddy!” around the damp thumb she is sucking and suddenly the dad roars with laughter and throws his arms around his children, who fish toys out of the pockets of his robe while the mother stands in the doorway, skillet in hand, smiling at the scene, a tall glass holding a generous serve of straight vodka just out of shot on the kitchen bench.

Tomorrow is going to be fabulous, I know it, I’m just used to having more time to get excited.

New Year’s Resolution: only work one job at a time.