Monday, October 08, 2012

These are a few of my favourite things!

A famous friend of mine (AFFOM) recently agreed (avidly jumped at the chance?) to do a newspaper magazine supplement feature, Ten Favourite Things. AFFOM found it incredibly difficult not just putting in 10 photos of his/her beloved son/daughter (trying to keep it anonymous here, folks). AFFOM even thought about *borrowing* some lovely things, to make a good impression. AFFOM was telling me about it and said breezily, "I bet you have ten favourite, interesting thing". AFFOM meant things, but I'm no judger. But anyways, as we down-home bloggers say, it got me to thinking (ok I'm channelling Laura Ingalls Wilder), what are my ten favourite things?

I didn't have an existential crisis, as AFFOM may have, but it's not as easy as you think. Anyway(s), to cut a long blether short, here are my ten favourite things. In no particular order. Not counting photos or books. Sort of.

1. My pin-board. Look! It's green baize. Baize. Of course I love it! Baize. Plus I can pin things to it.
1a. I love my computer. Gateway, tool, repository etc. Useful expensive thing.
1b. I *love* my desk. I almost took a real photo of it. I thought, it's the *only* piece of furniture I would ever hang on to, if I won 30 million dollars. But then I recalled my armchairs (2b), shelf (4b), ikea dresser (7d) and my bedside cabinet (8c)

2. my ukulele. I *love* my ukulele. Whenever I look at it a quiet smile of affection ghosts my lips. When I take my clothes off to go to bed, I hang them over the back of the armchair, and sometimes a drawstring or sleeve hits the strings, and a quiet chord sounds. Sometimes I tune it. Infrequently I pick it up and strum 2 or 3 of the 4 chords I have learned since I got it, in 1993.
2b. The armchair is one of a pair that Dad got from the waiting room of where he worked, when they were being chucked. Modern timeless sixties design, original black vinyl cushions.
3. pink flamingo. This was purchased on the Caribbean coast of Mexico at a cost of USD5 back in the days when that was worth $200 Australian. We couldn't afford that! I said to Michael (Other Michael), who bought it. Now it's mine and I never want to part with it. Oops, there's some books too, wasn't going to go there...
4. playing cards. I have a collection of about 50 packs but these are the ones I take away with me on holidays, to actually play. Cribbage, euchre, canasta, scopa, briscola, 500, bridge, pig, murder winks, gin rummy, bezique!
4b. this shelving unit. Another sixties-style piece. Amongst others, it supports 4 books of card games on its shelves.
5. lighthouse lamp. My brothers and I shared this in our bedroom when we were kids. Dad had it in his bedroom when he was a boy. I've been minding it ever since I left home - it's not really mine, if Dad ever wants it back, he only has to say. Thanks for the loan, Dad. The globe, blown out in this picture, has a beautiful cloudy mottled appearance, like a snow leopard, which strangely enough is my Spirit Animal.
6. globe. I always wanted a globe, I used to hungrily spin the one my Collins cousins at Carlingford had, even though the cardboard at the bottom had worn away and it spun super-wonkily. Now I have my own, and though I never touch it, or look at it, or dreamily spin it thinking of faraway places, I could. Whenever I wanted.
6b. Mexican blanket.
6c. clown toy, recently re-discovered. Who on Earth gave it to me? Me? This is the only clown in my life I can bear.
7. Broken bird. I have so many broken birds. 3, actually. An ex I went on safari with in Botswana bought me this, and I treasured it in spite of everything, until one day a curtain flailed and caught my hornbill and threw it to the ground, where it broke into 4 pieces. I was very upset my eyes stung. It's glued together and I love it still, as I love my green bird (21, sorry no pic) that my first ex sat on and broke, and my 4 swallows that hang on the wall that my Mum gave me, that I dropped as I left her house the day she gave them to me...
7b. Stewie (from Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy") mints tin. I basically *am* Stewie, this tin is *me*, ie one of my favourite things.
7c. cloth. I bought this from a peasant somewhere. I love bright coloured stripes. This is the closest thing to a newspaper magazine supplement favourite thing I have.
7d. ikea dresser. It's really a sweet little piece of furniture. When I lived in my (compared to my current bed-sit) huge one-bedroom flat, this contained all my board-games in it. My board-games are languishing in Storage now, and my beautiful ikea dresser now contains my mending, electrical cables, keys, maps and napkins.
8. my painting of a green shed of Hokkaido, Japan, by my friend Lehan Ramsay. Oh Lehan.
8b. the orange 70s lamp that shines its light on my picture
8c. the bedside cabinet upon which the lamp stands. It belonged to my maternal grandparents, part of their wedding purchase of furniture, then grandad spoiled it and put a new top on it and it was used as a type-writer stand (a type-writer upon the like of which Thoroughly Modern Milly was proficient) and which I stripped and sanded and varnished. Never Again.
9. my bike. another gift from another ex. actually, one of the previous ones. the Botswana safari one. KR.
10. cuff-links. These belonged to my great-grandfather Peter Symington - Da - who wore them on his wedding day. He married his first cousin Nellie Symington - Nanna - but that's another story. I love all my cufflinks: the ones I got in France, the ones Michael gave me, the ones Cathy gave me; and my rings: the one I bought in 1989 with the money Clare gave me to spend in Paris, that I had already spent 3 times; the one Michael (again) gave me that the cleaner stole; the one Trish gave me... maybe I've never bought a ring? Also, my silver chain from Mexico, with the Story. My tie-pin I never wear; my greenstone swirl that fell on the one-bedroom flat's horrible pink and white bathroom floor and broke...
11. my diamond ring
12. my car
13. my Kashmiri scarf
14. my slide projector
15. my artichoke bowl
16. my Coaching Days glasses
17. my broderie anglaise shirt
18. my Camper™ sandals
19. Tanqueray gin
20. my martini jug
21. my green bird
22. oh ok my iPhone, that latterday Junior Woodchucks Manual
23... and at this point I will close by saying AFFOM may have been right.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Transit of Venus

The Astronomy Club had set up their telescopes on the terrace in front of the Quad when I arrived at work. It was overcast and unlikely they'd get a chance to see the transit of Venus in their - or even their children's - lifetimes. But when I came out at lunch, it had turned into a blustery cloudy marine kind of day, the sun flashing out in patches for minutes at a time. So I lined up with the other quietly excited introverts to take my turn at one of the telescopes. And bending down and looking through the eye-piece I saw a small black dot on a smoky yellow background - the telescope had magnified the edges of the sun out of view. There was another viewer nearby, like a camera oscura, that threw an image of a white sun with a small black dot on a round screen. It looked like the dot ball in billiards and the difference in scale between the small black dot and the large white disc was interesting.

Quietly excited introverts.
Someone was giving out sun-viewing glasses, like cardboard 3D specs but with thick brown plastic instead of the blue and red lenses. I put a pair on and looked at the sun - and I was looking at the Sun, our star, up in the sky - but in front of it was that tiny dark circle that was Venus - and it was like the Sun, and Venus, and Earth, were all beads on a string, and I could feel myself looking across space, across all that distance to a planet, and a star, seeing so far. I felt as big as that space, and I was amazed! and I was elated.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Modern Dance

I went out on Saturday night, with an old friend who works in a book shop. She had cheap tickets to a dance thing at the STC - modern dance! I know nothing about dancing - I mean, The Dance - and it was like I was a visitor from 1958*, so Modernistic, and strange, and clever it was. And the music - I mean the accompanying insistent noise soundscape - nearly an hour and a half of it, it must have been the product of someone's conscious thought! All very interesting. I thought, what would King Louis the 14th and his Court have made of this? but I couldn't come to any conclusions. I guessed that Isadora Duncan might have appreciated it a bit more than the Sun King, but would still have been puzzled. I thought if was bloody fantastic.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dream Camping Trip

Last Friday at the office, so weary, but all set for the camping trip: esky, camping gear, clothes packed, knew where I was going. Then first thing in the morning, "A" emails me with an I-know-it's-late-notice-but invitation to a fabulous Disaster Movie themed birthday party the next night. And I said no I couldn't go I was all set for this camping trip.

Then I see on twitter that Donna Summer died, which made me sad about my ex and me, nostalgic I suppose, he used to play her a lot. So I got a bit teary, and as the day wore on I found I wasn't excited about the trip, but was determined to stick with it - cos I never know when to stick with a plan or when to give it the flick - so I stuck with it, and Lolly Sherman said I'd feel a lightening of spirit once I was on the Open Road, but the first half hour of the Open Road got me down the Princes Highway as far as Rockdale, and though it got better after that it was just driving, in the dark, for a long time...

And I got to the National Park, and had trouble finding the entrance from the highway, no signs, just a gap amongst the shadowy trees, a dirt track disappearing into the dark...

yes I though Deliverance, I thought Cabin in the Woods as I  drove down it to the camp-ground, negotiating the 4wd track at 15kmh, the camp-ground when I reached it a series of clearings on a final loop of the track, on hillocky ground amongst the trees; and all of spots seemed filled up but it was hard to tell in the flickering light of one big bonfire surrounded by 3-4 guys all staring at me with beer bottles in their hands - staring at my car rather, as it slowly circled them - and it was the sort of place where the anti-government the-NPWS-is-idiotic my-farther-(sic)-and-grandfarthers-(sic)-fought-for-this-country (rough quotes from a 4wd website about this camp-ground) crowd liked to gather; and one of the big tents had a sofa out the front, and there was no moon and it had taken 5 hours to get there instead of 3, and I didn't want to put the tent up in the dark and my spirit hadn't lightened on the Open Road, and as I finished the loop by the bonfire one of the guys mooned me as his mate slapped his thigh and guffawed, and I felt a little despondent.

One aborted stop-off at a flood-lit Tourist Park, where everyone was asleep; a nightmarish walk onto the beach there in an attempt to get into the being-awayness, but it was pitchy dark, and cold, I couldn't see, I almost walked into the surf, it was strange and weird and unfriendly; and dinner the packet of squashed-fly biscuits I'd fondly imagined having for afternoon teas over the weekend, eaten as I drove home without stopping, slapping myself to stay awake from exactly 11.11pm.