Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday

Gave a talk at school.

Painted a self-portrait.

Cooked a new dish for dinner.

The Downton fest continued.

Monday, February 27, 2017

1/6th

Can you even imagine that tomorrow marks the end of the first sixth of 2017? How quickly does time fly?

It's good to have a new routine.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday drive

Went for a Sunday drive today. Remember when that was a thing? You got in the car and went for a drive, with no real destination in mind.

We chose to head south and would have motored further than Bredbo except we saw the sign "Crepes and Pancakes". So there was driving and afternoon tea. An excellent adventure.

More Downton tonight. We've managed to watch two seasons in a week. This reminds me of the days of binge watching Melrose Place when I had to review the program for The Guide and we would get a video tape of four or five episodes. I had soooooo many friends in the newsroom in those days. Haha, good times.

Now, of course, everything is available on whatever streaming service you subscribe to or wherever you get your internet fix. I'm one of the old-fashioned ones who will pay for stuff over the internet. People need to earn a living and with the number of jobs declining rapidly, every little bit helps.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sold

Art has been a constant presence in my life, from my young childhood where my mother would paint scenes on the beaches of Byron Bay while we played and swam around her, to my art studies at school and all the many art adventures in between.
I've bought a painting from an artist on the street in Port Moresby, have a Chinese silk work that belonged to my grandmother and the painting of pelicans I bought for our first house hangs in my living room. Beautiful works by ex-Fairfax colleagues remind me of them and those glory days of journalism in the 1990s and early 00s.

To be studying art full-time is a luxury but it also has a purpose as I move from one career to another, or at least expand the one I had by communicating through art as well as words.

Today I sold this work to a beautiful friend who has supported my work by commissioning three paintings. It is a joy to paint anyway and such a joy to be able to add colour and light to someone else's world.




Friday, February 24, 2017

Art

Five days a week of art is a luxury and today we did some abstract art. Everyone in the class did beautiful fluid lines and I did this space/sound waves/new planet piece.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday

One of the joys of my new life is the lack of time for media of all types: main, hysterical and social. Gosh you can waste a lot of time of stuff that you think is important but really doesn't matter when you consider the serious stuff of life.

Yes, we all need to know what is going on in the world and I've always been more than well-informed, but lately I realise that there is so much out of our control or even our orbit and why sully our emotions with the angst of it?

The sun will shine every day, there will be d*ckheads who think they are in the charge, there will be bullies ... and on the other side of the ledger are the beautiful people who add a little zing and sparkle to our days.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Downton Abbey Fest

There is a festival of Downton Abbey at our place and everyone is involved.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bus photos

My school is on a bus ride from my place so the obvious way to get there is by bus. Using public transport is not so common in Canberra. Most people drive everywhere and complain if it takes them more than 10 minutes to get to their destination.

There's a bit not to like about the bus, but I do enjoy the time spent picking people up on the morning run and dropping them at their various schools and workplaces. My bus stops at some fancy Govt departments, including ASIO, and stops across the road from school.

To mark the year of catching the bus to school I'm photographing various highlights. It will be interesting to watch the seasons change. We had our first taste of Autumn today with a beautiful cool morning. This is us crossing Lake Burley Griffin on Kings Ave.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reconfiguring things

It was the Goldilocks bed that did it. Miss B and I were at the local bed shop testing out mattresses for the spare room, when we chanced upon one that was so-o-o-o-o-o-o comfortable. And the shop was having a sale where you paid the price of the smaller size mattress and got the one you wanted.

And so we thought wouldn't it be great for me to get a new bed (mine is 4 years old and there is nothing at all wrong with it, apart from taking up my entire room). So I'm downsizing and one bed is going into the spare room and my bed goes into the other bedroom.

It's a win-win-win, although I suspect the spare bed will be so inviting no guest will ever want to leave. Now taking bookings for #CBR excursions ...

All my sewing and painting stuff has to find new places as you cannot have a sewing room and a third bedroom. It's been a mammoth task and one that has taken far longer than it should have, mainly because there is so much emotion caught up with all our stuff.

"Does it bring me joy?" is the question that is asked, and unfortunately, most of the stuff that is left does bring me joy ... so perhaps I need to ask another question.

In other big news I'm about to begin crocheting a new rug. Different design than I've ever made, but one to keep me warm on these cool Canberra nights that will be here before we know it.

 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Some days

I get sad some days. I've had a great day. Worked at the shop, sold lots of stuff, faffed about this afternoon, had a nice dinner, but then something will remind me of something else and I think: "What the hell?"

I'm sitting outside, reading a great book, having a lovely quiet time, but it's not what should be happening. This is not how it is meant to be. Everything will be OK but by goodness, it's time for the good times to begin.

Friday, February 17, 2017

What price a civilised society?

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that not everyone in society is equal and sometimes people need a bit of help to get back on their feet, study to improve their chances of employment/starting a business or time to be treated for an illness?

Politics in Australia is particularly ugly as Katharine Murphy so eloquently writes for The Guardian but what struck me this week was people without children complaining that they are "subsidising" the childcare rebate of those with children.

Well yes, without children, there will be no taxpayers of the future. Parents who work are not abandoning their children but attempting to remain taxpayers for as long as possible. I took the decision years ago to work part-time/freelance while the father of my children worked full-time. It suited our family at the time. Now, I'm stuffed. We are no longer together and my career does not exist, for myriad reasons. I'm attempting to build a new career and am determined to do so, but sometimes for a minute or five I wonder if it just a folly. Then I remember there is no time for folly. There is only time to put my head down and attempt to build a new career by studying and working hard at those studies.

If I had not received childcare rebate all those years ago I still would have worked, but having a bit of money given back meant work was more accessible and I could do more of it and pay more tax. For the past 16 months I have been living on quite a restricted income. I am now studying. I am ineligible for any type of government assistance, despite having little income. (Please don't tell me that something must be available ... you actually have to be out on your arse to receive any assistance from this govt). I don't think anyone should receive any form of assistance that they are not entitled to, but I have been a taxpayer for many, many years. I'm not a leaner. I've always worked hard.

There is no gold travel pass for me. And now politicians on their generous salaries and ex-politicians after their generous salaries have to buy their own airline tickets. Welcome to the real world. This is the world where people catch planes in the middle of the night or at strange times, with long stopovers, so they can meet with loved ones, attend important family events, including births and deaths.

Most people don't get to sit up the pointy end of the plane, with drinks in the rarefied air of the Chairman's Lounge in between flights.  Hell, most people don't even travel by plane because it is beyond their weekly budget. Nor do they get a public forum in which to vent their privileged fury.

When I grew up, Australia offered much promise for its citizens. There were jobs aplenty and houses were affordable. You could start a business, work for someone else, take a bit of time to start a family. Now, not so much. I worked in politics for a few short years. I have few regrets in life, but that is one of them. I thought it would be good to make a difference for people, to help those who needed it. It's not my lived experience. Staff are sucked up, used up, discarded.

Someone I know has been forced from their job in recent weeks. They worked amazingly hard and did incredible work but lesser personalities demanded an end to that role.

And then there are the politicians, behaving like loons. Trump takes the cake but there are many Australian politicians who if they took a good look at themselves would/should be frightened of the character staring back at them. The scary thing is that so many people are not interested in their carry-on. They are too busy trying to get the money together to put a roof over their head and food on the table.

We were the lucky country. We certainly are not any more.

Where does this thing go? What's next? It's too simple to blame "social media" and the "24/7" news cycle. People have to accept that they are members of society. We need to work together to create a better world for all of us. Be nice, be kind, take a long hard look at yourself and if you are a dickhead, stop being a dickhead. If you are a politician, stop being selfish and remember why you wanted to represent the public. When I ask my politician friends and acquaintances, the most common response is" "To make a difference." Well, go ahead, make a difference. Don't be a dickhead. Be kind, be nice, look beyond tomorrow's headlines. Heck, look to the future. Our children and the generations to follow are counting on it.



Thursday, February 16, 2017

The new routine

Exercise in inks

Settling in to the new routine after two weeks and one of the joys is not having the time or inclination to follow what is happening hour by hour in politics, Australian or Trumpian.

What a load of bollocks it all is. I've just watched Julie Bishop being interviewed by David Speers. I love Speersy but Bishop advocating for the re-election of the WA Barnett Govt left me cold. I didn't hear one good argument. Then she said something about getting the budget out of deficit and living within our means and I realised she has no idea about the people who have no job and no Centrelink entitlements and no housing security and Federal politicians are being paid a minimum of about $200K a year ... and need I go on?

I'm loving my art studies but there isn't enough money for new brushes or new batteries for the clocks in the classrooms.

There's a lovely mix of students from school leavers to escapees from horror career conditions to mature folk trying to set themselves up for a new life and career. The teachers are so supportive and it is a luxury to do art five days a week. No wonder I had to go through all that shit in recent years ... now is the time for the reward.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Practical magic

At school we have to learn Workplace Safety but instead of watching boring videos we get to do stuff.

We have learnt how to use equipment safely in the workshop by making a pencil box. It involved hammering and glueing. I finished building mine today by adding a lovely wooden leaf that I cut with a scroll saw (paint to follow). I really need a workshop/shed.

We also completed our screen printing task. My work apron has some lovely pink ink on a black background. Now I get to turn this pristine apron into a working piece of clothing and cover it with whatever substances we use all year in our art. What a joy and a luxury to be studying art and doing art every day.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How does your garden grow?

One of the joys of life is gardening but when you have a plot the size of two postage stamps there is little room for crops or too many plants.

I put two tomato plants in a pot weeks ago and they are just now bearing fruit. Last night we had fresh basil from the garden on our pasta.

The recent heat could have knocked the garden about, but with judicious watering it is looking OK, considering the crazy hot temperatures we have had.

In my next house there will be a large garden and an art studio and everything will be on one level instead of four.

In other house news the walls of the "spare" bedroom have received the second coat of paint. Now to move furniture and find a place for the fabric and art projects ...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cure for all ills

Down in the dumps about Trump? Got a cold heart about Australian politics? Do yourself a favour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdxj5U_ilvs

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hearts and minds

Went for a drive today to visit someone in hospital. It was nice to get out of Canberra, circumstances notwithstanding.

One of the best things on the way home is that the heat relented. There was fog and clouds and a few drops of rain and now it is half the temperature it was this morning. Some days you need to see sky and at least driving through the countryside within a couple of hours of home gives great sky views.

Drove home the back way and bought some beautiful flowers from a roadside stall. Turns out the stall is out the front of a flower farm. I've driven past it a few times lately. From now on I will stop. Beautiful bunches from $10.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

The heat, the unrelenting heat

Funny how the heat warps your brain and your body. We're all carrying on as if it has never been hot before, but it has.

This summer has been particularly hot, mostly because the past two summers were wet and mild, so we are noticing the heat.

Four years and a month ago when we moved house, it was 38 degrees. In the first summer after we moved from Sydney (2003), Canberra experienced terrible bushfires. Then we moved to Murrumbateman and lived through seven years of drought. We would cool off with a swim at a friend's pool or the beautiful Yass Olympic Pool and after a few years we installed aircon so we could at least have the lounge room to chill in.

Today and yesterday it was 41. Too hot for normal activity, but you can get by if you sit still with your feet in a bucket of cold water and/or a wet scarf around your neck.

It would be fancy to have air-conditioning but this house is split over four levels and I have no idea how to cool it, apart from using blinds and fans.

So Puss and I are outside, the garden has been watered about six times to help cool us and it, and I've had a beer and a delicious apple cider, so at least I'm keeping up the fluids.

In other fun news, there is a full moon tonight. Hahahahahahaha





Friday, February 10, 2017

Wherever it leads

Week one of art and I've enjoyed it immensely. It is a luxury to be able to practice/learn art five days a week. It's nice to have the time to think and explore and see wherever it leads.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hot and bothered

Sorry to go on about the weather because it is summer and it is meant to be hot but tomorrow and Saturday it's going to be 41 degrees and that's just too, too, sooooooooooo hot.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Today in politics

The Trumpster continues to Trump, the Trumble apparently Trumbled. A South Australian Senator elected to represent one party has gone rogue, but from the little I have seen and read, talks in nonsense slogans and seems to have an over-abiding interest in stopping people going about their lives unless it fits his narrow Catholic view. Would the Libs be letting him to this to counteract the Redhead?

Is that too cynical?

From where I am, busy studying art, there is little time to watch the commentators and the actual events of politics, and after years of doing both, it's entirely refreshing.

There are a few good eggs in Parliament and the rest are there to feather their nests, not ours.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Banana Bread

I've just whipped up a loaf of my famous Banana Bread. This one contains pear and strawberries.


This whole return to baking was prompted over summer by the bananas that turn from greenish/yellow to brown within days of being bought.

Bananas never ripened so quickly when I was a child and we would be given a whole bunch by one of the local growers.

Now I only have to wait a couple of days for the bananas to be ready for baking.

Cooking can be quite a chore but at least when you do it yourself, you know exactly what you are eating.

All this art and baking and I could turn into a hippy.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Something for myself



My new life began today. I'm studying art full-time.

I'm not going to post about it much until I figure out where it's taking me, but it felt good today.

Nice to do something for me.

If you have a dream, follow it.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Paint a wall

I painted a wall this morning. Two walls. The walls that held the built-in desks which were ripped out last week, leaving an enormous gaping hole that should not have been there. The Handyman and I were surprised to see the hole that someone had obviously cut into the wall but he did quite an amazing job filling it and all the other bits where the desks had been attached.

I offered to paint the wall and so I have and it needs another coat and then it's good to go.

The walls are a really boring colour and the whole interior is painted the same colour. Doesn't matter because my furniture and paintings add the colour. Too much really.

The kitchen is the next room for reinvention. With the floating shelves gone, there is so much more space. I've mastered the Tradies' Bog and have filled in the holes from the floating shelves (the Dodgy Brothers did all the work on this place before I bought it). A bit of tidying up, sanding, priming and painting and that will be done.

Today was another scorcher. Apparently next Saturday it will be 41 ...


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Thank you for your service

Last year someone in my family joined the ADF. Now, everywhere I go, I meet people who are in or have served in the ADF. It's like a giant family and I love it.

Today after working in my friend's shop I went to the birthday party of a gorgeous two-year-old. I don't really know him but I know his mum really well and his dad. What a gorgeous boy he is. He had big boys to play with and while the adults talked and laughed and ate, the boys played and kept each other amused. It was great meeting new people and talking with them about their passions.

It was quite a delight.

I was meant to come home and paint two walls but didn't. That can wait until tomorrow.

Did I mention there was sugar? I eat a bit of chocolate and drink a bit of wine but I rarely eat lollies or cake. Today there were lollies, which I did not eat, and cake (which had to be eaten because it was a birthday party). Sugar rush.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Live like a woman

It's been a huge week at the Paris Apple Hotel. We have had a wonderful tradesman in to do some serious work which I am finishing off with painting. Oh and I may have been using Tradies' Bog to fill in some holes in the kitchen after I removed the most revoltingly ugly floating shelves. Let me tell you, if you are ever inclined to install floating shelves, go outside, take a hard right turn and throw yourself on the ground. Or drink a bottle of whisky, or something. Just do something else.

The rearrangement of the house continues and today I painted primer in readiness for the real paint. So then I painted pictures, like I haven't done for weeks, but fell into an immediate state of Zen. There's plenty of time for that this year ... for now, this house has to be organised.

And so I had to go to Bunnings and buy a sander, because I needed a sander and I had a Bunnings gift card, and I already own the drill and the two batteries and apparently I can buy another 50 power tools ...

Before that I went to the tip and got rid of crap. Why do we hang on to stuff that doesn't work, isn't needed, takes up space? Who knows, but now it is gone. For $13. Best money I've ever spent.

Trump? He's Donalded. Fark. What a catastrophe. How long until he is removed from the Oval Office?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The world has gone mad

Beyonce is having twins

Trump cut short his call with Turnbull

I'm decluttering my house


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Women in the Federal Parliament

Went to Parli House today on a secret assignment, but I had a few minutes to spare so went to my favourite exhibit: Women in the Federal Parliament.

There is a photo and some information about every woman who has been elected to Australia's Parliament since Federation.

I worked in Parliament House for years and this was always my favourite place in the building. The one that brought me joy. There are not enough women in Parliament, there are not enough women in leadership roles, there are women being killed by their spiteful exes, there are women and girls subjected to other people's beliefs - the new NSW Minister for Women is "pro-life" - give me a farking break. Who gets to carry the foetus, give birth, do most of the parenting and run the household? Women.

I'm not a man hater, I love men, but give them half a choice and they adopt the hunter/gatherer/breadwinner role with glee. Because that frees them up from domestic drudgery and negotiating with children and keeping everything in order and the world ticking over.

I'm a bit fired up for personal reasons and also because of the old white fogeys who have taken over the White House.

It's 2017 for Farks sake. When will it ever be that people can be thought of as people, without needing to be squashed down by others?

I grew up as the daughter of an Anglican minister. Let me tell you religious bigotry was alive, well, thriving and kicking in 1970s Australia.

People of no faith hate religion and sometimes people of faith use their religion to persecute and exclude others. None of it makes sense.

What's wrong with getting along, treating others as you would like to be treated and saving your religious views to church, especially if you are running for or occupying political office?

Let's make humanity better, let's preserve our little blue dot, let's be our best selves.

It's worth a try.