Shutterbug

This morning I was reading the specs for the Lumix DMC-GX7 because I’ve wanted a Lumix for a while: a camera that takes incredible photos but isn’t as heavy or require as much gear as my DSLR. Then I remembered two things: my debts and my rule about not buying new tech before I’ve pushed my current gear as far as I can and I’ve barely scratched the surface of my Canon’s capabilities.

I think I probably will go down the Lumix route eventually, especially for travel, but in the mean time I can scratch the itch by putting down my iPhone and picking up my Canon. As best I can tell, the last time I really used it was 2012, and the amount I’ve forgotten since then is shocking.

Bare with me while I remember how to do this and how much I used to love it.

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Making It A Home

Today we went to Ikea to buy bedsides tables. They’re nice: a dark brown wood with two drawers, lined with blue and cream paper and a small shelf in the top one, which I plan to use to stow my rosebud salve and the gorgeous silver pen B got me for my birthday, which I am using in the first paper journal I’ve ever manged to keep. 10 years of blogging and I guess I’ve finally realised not everything should go online.

Not having bedside tables has really been bothering me, partly because our bedroom is quite big, but was so far empty of anything but the bed, which made it feel like a hotel room and the least homely room in the house, which is a problem for me because I still live like I’m sharehousing and spend a lot of time alone in the bedroom – reading, listening to music. I like a room I can shut a door to.

Another reason is that it takes a lot of medication to keep me going. Every day I have to take five tablets, an extra on Saturdays and Sundays, and my routine has always been to have them beside me and take them when I first wake up. If they’re not there, I forget to take them and only remember about three days later when my skin starts tingling and my brain starts to buzz.

My next job is to kill all the weeds in the old vegetable plot in the back yard and turn the soil. I’m not particularly interested in keeping it as a vegetable garden, so instead I’m going to flower bomb it with all different kinds of seeds, just mix a tub of ones I have been buying or gifted and just throw them in and see what comes up.

I start a new job on Monday, as does B. I’m looking forward to it. I always really enjoy the first six months of a new job where time flies by as you learn new things. It’s in Rosebery too, which has the benefit of being quite close to home, as well as a suburb I’m completely unfamiliar with. The role is quite independant, lots of working by myself in a (literally) soundproof booth. In a way, it couldn’t be more perfect, my last couple of roles required me to be contactable almost all the time and I am at a place now where I need a lot of space.

It’s been a very strange year.

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Bill Collins Is My Homeboy

For a very long time I’m not sure that I knew movies existed unless they were introduced by Bill Collins.

His camp appreciation for everything Technicolor and glamourous was matched only by mine. Every week I would religiously watch whatever he programmed and two of my absolute favourite films still stem from those afternoons spent sprawled in a green velvet armchair (what else?) in the lounge room.

Blithe Spirit, based on the Noël Coward play of the same name, is a darkly comedy about a man who accidentally raises the spirit of his first wife, who is determined to wreak havoc on his second marriage. It’s a kind of precursor to all the films and television series with a brow-beaten husband and a much more wiley female counterpart.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes needs no introduction (except maybe by Bill Collins). I probably saw it close to 30 times before I was even an adult. I love everything about it: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell are gorgeous, every scene is completely luscious and it’s the diamonds of this film that I covert more than a ring.

Perhaps wanting to  cultivate my interest in Old Hollywood, Mum lent me her copies of Kenneth Anger’s notorious Hollywood Babylon books, which revealed a much sleazier and darker side of the industry, which was rotten to the core and required the sickenly cheerful wash of Technicolor to cover the decay.

A couple of years ago I found a copy of the first book for sale in an antique store in the Blue Mountains and pounced on it. The owner of the store tried to explain the history of it to me, but I was already well aware which pages the book would fall open to of their own accord if I flicked through it.

Right now is the perfect weather to revisit some of the films of this era, Sydney is damp and cold, snow is falling further west and I have absolutely nothing to do this week, so each afternoon I am going to stretch out on my pleather lounge (for shame!) and re-watch movies made for a completely different audience.

A Freight Train Running Through The Middle Of My Head

B and I have been trying to have our lights out my 10:30 each night, but it’s hard. Every book has just one more chapter and every game has just one more level, so it’s usually closer to 11:30 by the time we’re done.

B is one of those annoying people who is awake one second and asleep the next. I am one of those equally annoying people whose brain comes alive as soon as the lights go out.

Last night was particularly bad. I was so energetic I could’ve run a marathon, even after I took melatonin. I was excited, I think, because today I had two job interviews and I felt pretty good about both, so my brain wanted to imagine how fun life will be when job hunting is over.

I woke up again at about 3:30 this morning when my phone vibrated. The NBA season is about to start and I forgot I still have my NBA Game Time app set up from last season. Sadly the message it displayed was not good. Kevin Durant, last season’s NBA MVP and hero of my team, the Oklahoma City Thunder has fractured his foot and the first game of the regular season is only two weeks away.

Of course, this meant I was wide awake, waiting for a sane time to message my friend Sam, another Oklahoma tragic, to discuss with him the news. We’ve both agreed that there’s benefits in having a fresh Durant later in the season when games start to matter more. Still. I feel so bad for him and for the team.

I’ll probably write much more about the Thunder this year and why I love them and NBA. It’s the healthiest addiction I’ve ever had.

It wasn’t a great start, but today was a pretty awesome and in the last 48 hours, I’ve made some decisions I feel really solid about.

 

 

Think About The Future / Let The Past Unwind

I’ve been thinking, talking, reminiscing about my early 20s a lot lately and it doesn’t take an amazing Mindy Kaling-esque therapist whose surname is almost Boomshakalaka to work out why.

My early 20s were the last time I was responsible for virtually nothing besides $70 a week in rent and $40 each month to fill my itty bitty Charade which got me to and from work and with a lot of effort and coolant, to Sydney whenever I wanted to escape.

I was happily irresponsible and the mistakes I made didn’t seem to have big consequences, pretty much everything came with the option of a do-over.

This photo was taken the night of my 21st. My dad was 45 and that pursed-lipped look of his is his ‘I’m proud of you kid’ look because I was doing things, achieving things, very much in the midst of my The World’s My Oyster phase.

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This photo is of Dad and me at my 30th. His look this time is more of a ‘Thank God she made it out the other side of that’ because my 29th year was my worst to date. My fringe was so on point though.

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The first photo was taken 11 years ago and I cringe at some of the bigger mistakes I’ve made since then that didn’t come with a do-over, but I’ve realised the biggest one of all was made back in those carefree days.

I studied something I never felt good about. I jumped at the first job that came my way after I finished and I’ve been wondering how to fix that mess ever since.

So I am going to work in 2015, and get fit and fix whatever the hell is wrong with my thyroid and then I’m going back to uni, to study something I actually care about and something I think I’ll be good at. Then I’ll spend the next 50 years doing that instead.

The Non-Sleeping News

It’s been months since I’ve had proper ‘Why hello, 3am!’ insomnia, yet here I am, two nights in a row.

Probably sleeping until midday didn’t help, but life is making it inherently difficult to accept sensible adult responsibilities like a routine bed time right now.

Instead I’ve been sitting up reading The Shipping News which has been a frustrating read because I know parts of the plot, as communicated to me by my then maybe five-year-old cousin at a family breakfast the morning of my younger sister’s wedding. In between singing Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ at me, she told me some fantastical, violent story I thought was a dream until she ended with ‘So anyway, that was The Shipping News, I watched it last night.’. Given that her parents are upstanding members of society I thought she might have been exaggerating some of the finer points, but apparently not.

I am happy to report that I seem to have grown out of my standard go-to when life’s lobbing me lemons and I’ve not once considered getting a tattoo. I have instead decided to once again do the C25K, this time outdoors, because while I can buy German sausages, honey whiskey or a pre-paid funeral in the neighbourhood, I cannot join a gym. There is no gym. There is a plethora of young men in fast cars, but no gym. This suburb is gagging for a gym, but I am going to have to suck it up and run laps of the oval across the road from us in a giant $4 t-shirt I bought just for the occasion.

The pre-paid funeral business has been giving me pause for thought recently. Not because I want one, nor do I feel like I’m heading towards one, but because changing careers has meant I’ve been considering what I actually want to do. A previous partner once criticised me for being too empathetic (though to be fair, he was a near-Neanderthal when it came to feelings) and I do seem to be leaning towards careers where that might be a plus. I could also just be romanticising Six Feet Under though and I m going through a Claire phase and Claire was the only Fisher to have nothing to do with the funeral industry.

The things that make sense at 3am.

 

 

 

Unfunemployment

Today was my first day of funemployment.

I don’t think unemployment will actually be fun but I did plan to spend one single day relaxing.

I was going to start running again. I was going to go to the post office and pick up what is either a new Melvins t-shirt or a day planner to replace the one Delilah ate a few weeks ago. I was going to watch so much Orange Is The New Black.

Instead I woke up at 2am, 4am and 5am because my throat was filled with razor blades. Maybe I also had a fever, because Barry found me sitting on the lounge at 5am eating Nutella toast, confused and trying to motivate myself to go into work and pack up my desk.

Cut to 10am, I woke up and realised I’d fallen asleep and in the light of day, it was clear I had the dreaded manflu, feller of my father last weekend.

I had wanted to make him feel less like a plague victim, so I had insisted on hugging him, loudly proclaiming that never get the flu.

Not that I am competitive, but when this virus had my father in its grip, he manged to move six railway sleepers … on his own.

Do you know how heavy a railway sleeper is? It’s like two adult males, straining and shaking and rightfully concerned they’re going to drop it and break their feet heavy. The guy who delivered them refused to help move them even with our help. But Dad? Dad, riddled with the flu, moved six of them on his own.

I figured the least I could achieve was going to the shop to buy lunch. Bad move. The walk required about four hours sleep to get over.

I have banished Barry and Wuz to the other bedroom and am surrounded by all the drugs and the waters and I plan to hibernate until this is over.

An Elderly Man, On A Train.

I am standing in front of an elderly man on my train. His white hair is carefully and lightly combed over his scalp and he is wearing a large plastic pair of women’s sunglasses.

He studies us all through the dark lenses, his hands gripping a large suitcase on wheels.

The handle of the suitcase is decorated with blue and purple curly gift ribbon. I can imagine someone, probably a well meaning daughter-in-law, tied the ribbon to the suitcase to make it easier for him to spot on the carousel.

I don’t think he would’ve picked the ribbon himself.

The man he is sitting next to is clearly his son, and beside his son, sits his son’s wife.

The elderly man looks at me, studies me.

He turns to his son and mentions he’s noticed a lot of people carry shoulder bags now. In his time, everyone used briefcases. It’s not said with any judgement, just an observation.

Somehow the father and son start to discuss cars. The elderly man mentions his father owned an EH Holden. He paid several thousand dollars for it brand new. His son shakes his head at the figure, the response his father no doubt expected.

I try and guess the age of the son. He looks older than me, but not middle-aged. He is perhaps 40 at most. I wonder why in all the years this father and son have known one another they’ve never discussed the fact of the EH Holden and its cost. How do people who’ve known each other for so long have anything historic left to talk about?

The elderly man is distracted. He takes off the large plastic pair of women’s sunglasses and peers out the window to figure out where we are.

Many people and their luggage get on at International Airport and he is concerned about how he will manoeuvrer his suitcase to the door when it’s his turn to get off.

He mentions to his son that the carriage is quite crowded now and his son nods, before turning and speaking quietly to his wife.

The train slows to pull into Domestic Airport and he’s on his feet already, worried he won’t get off in time, wondering how to get his large suitcase through the crowd.

His son notices his father, on his feet, his back already turned and he reaches up and touches his hand, almost cupping it. His father turns to smile, but is clearly concerned, his mind already on checking his luggage, getting to his gate on time and using the toilet before he gets on the plane, where there any turbulence might make it hard for him to leave his seat alone.

The son stands, puts his arm around his father and hugs him, whispers something in his ear. It’s been a lovely visit, let them know when he’s home safely.

The trains gently halts and to the father’s relief, people have pre-empted his journey and have cleared a path for him. He shifts his suitcase between them and steps off the train.

His son looks out the window, hoping for a last wave, making sure he’s made it off.

The elderly man is standing on the platform, pulling out the handle of his suitcase, his son and his son’s wife already forgotten as he tries to make sense of the signs and figure out where he moves next.

Almost Ten Years On.

In 2005 I was unemployed for the four weeks it took for me to finish my thesis.

I moved into my parents’ house and sat at the dining room table every day and wrote a chapter on my least favourite novel of those I was studying. When I wasn’t writing about feminist science fiction, I was writing job applications for positions in Sydney.

For fun, I walked six kilometres every morning before it got too hot and the flies unbearable.

During my breaks from writing, I would do sit-ups and by the end of four weeks could do hundreds a day.

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In 10 days I finish up my current role.

I’m going to take up running in the morning, before it gets too hot and the traffic unbearable.

I am going to sit at out dining room table every day and write job applications.

During my breaks from writing I am going to walk Delilah up to the shops and buy fresh food and cook dinner every night.

 

Retiring the Pradas.

A few months ago I went through the extremely frustrating process of buying a pair of matte black Ciccio RETROSUPERFUTURE glasses from an online reseller and then we moved and I completely forgot to get them kitted out with lenses.

Today I went to an optometrist near work on the recommendation of a friend and in the course of the check up, needed to have a photo taken … of the inside of my eyeball.

It was really interesting. The optometrist and I sat huddled around his monitor as he showed me all the different bits that make up the inside of eyeballs, mine in this case. There were all my eye veins! And a healthy looking long medical term for a red bit! We both decided the photos could be a little sharper, so the resolution was adjusted and I hopped back in front of the camera and for $50 I now have a crisp photo of both my eyes on file.

He then put some anaesthetic drops in and the eyeball and the eyelids went numb so he could put some kind of medieval torture tool in my eyes. ‘Try not to blink!’ he said, which made me frantically blink.

Afterwards he fixed my eye make up for me and told me my new frames were groovy and I went back to work, squinting even more than usual until I could feel my eyes again.