fives


  1. Rodrigo
  2. Voldemort
  3. Darth Maul
  4. Cavalry
  5. Saucer

Five possible names for a (hypothetical) cat, based purely on how much I want an excuse to stand in the backyard and call them out:

  1. Chrestomanci
  2. Bloody Mary
  3. Hathaway
  4. Stella
  5. Geronimo

Other contenders were “Doctor” and “Nooooo!”.

  1. Mt Tambourine. Deb and I walked the Witches Falls Circuit through the vertical rainforest and hung over the lookout platform, staring at the great hexagonal columns gradually detaching themselves from the mountain, and at the slight waterfall which fell and fell and never seemed to stop falling, and the endless trees. We saw hollow trunks and massive whorled cavernous shells of trees, and on the way back lyrebirds crossed our path. I’ve never been bushwalking in a skirt before, but it did make me feel very Isabella Bird, and was quite comfortable and airy.
  2. Mt Kosciuszko. Very high, very clear, very beautiful. On the mountain, everything is grey-green and pure and cold and fantastical rock formations and clear pools shape and reflect the sky. From the skilift, while the other subeditor’s brother threatened to rock it, the world was distant and perfect and the grass far below was blonde and soft and restless. I hadn’t planned this trip and was only warned a week out that I would be going with my sister to “the highest mountain on the lowest and flattest continent”. I want to go back and be quiet somewhere up near the summit and keep trying to capture the peculiar blue of the hills and clarity of the air. Coincidentally, it was where my parents had spent their honeymoon on the same weekend 29 years before.
  3. Mt Coot-tha. We had our Good Friday breakfast in a new location – orange juice, barbequed bacon and eggs, hot cross buns crunchy from being toasted in the oils on the barbeque, pancakes with lemon and sugar, or with chocolate eggs wrapped in them and melted. While the various fires were being lit, a few of us ran up the hill which was green and lawn-like and sparkling, and spelled Emily! with our shadows near the top (because there were six of us and she had the shortest name).
  4. Hatton Vale. We have horses in the back half of my parents’ yard now, and a labyrinth of butterfly-leaved bushes at the front. I sat out on a blanket with a shady hat and drew both and ate dark Lindt chocolate.
  5. The road to Dalby. I went out for Aimee’s birthday – halfway to what used to be home. I hadn’t forgotten how beautiful the country on that side of the range was, but it has been too long since I’ve seen it. Out past Oakey and the upturned bowl of Gowrie Mountain, the world levels out. The sky is a great blue dish, plumed on one side, and the world is so flat it seems tiny under that immense sky. The highway straightens and becomes blue, the trees and powerlines march away, the grass is tawny and the sorghum russet-red and when the sun sets the world turns gold and candy-pink and scarlet. It is so soon like home, and there is a claustrophobic feeling attendant on returning through Toowoomba and sinking down the range into the little, gnarly, pocketed, miniature landscapes of the valley, which are dim and beautiful and every changing like a little world in a fairy tale. But not so vacantly majestic, nor so nearly home.
  1. Beds: unmade, double and low.
  2. Dishes: unrinsed and left in the sink.
  3. KFC: the one at Indooroopilly.
  4. Houses: without books.
  5. Story: absence of.
  1. Wearing my blouse inside out. Worked this out at the bus stop, but I had to wait to get into the city, through two blocks and into MacArthur Central bathrooms before I could fix it. Trying very hard to be cool and deliberate but hampered by not remembering where the tags where and consequently walking with my arms very close to my sides in case they were in the seams. Of course, it turned out to be in the neckline and my hair was down, so that was why I couldn’t find them with my elbows.
  2. Trying on wigs. Genevieve even joined in! With a bob I look even more like my mother.
  3. Changing into sneakers and socks in the middle of Queen Street Mall. I saw stranger things go by.
  4. People watching and asking if they could take photos of me drawing the latin dancers. Well, this sort of thing has rarely embarassed me at the time.
  5. Buying the most delightfully awful book I could have cause not to regret buying. I’ve been dithering on this for a few months now and didn’t quite manage not to defend myself, but after telling the cashier it was for “comedic value” I salvaged the situation by asking if he read fantasy and (as he did) inviting him to look at the pictures, and he agreed with me. If you are particularly unfortunate, I may even review it.

It was an artistic Friday evening. After Genevieve and I had our semi-regular melting-moment-and-mocha at a cafe in the Myer Centre, we went to the photo shop so I could show her last weekend’s paintings and print out copies. While we waited, we tried on wigs in the wig shop (I found a nice length of bob for… $400+, so might get a more theatrical, cheaper wig unless I can bring myself to the overwhelming question of whether to cut my hair before the 1920s banquet). Genevieve left to practice her scales in the music shop and I returned to the photo store to discover they had printed 24 copies on gloss instead of matte. While they reprinted them I avoided buying a tripod (most of my photos are self-portrait/reference shots so my gorillapod and a chair will do for now) and resisted art books in QBD. Then I sat on a bench in Queen Street Mall and sketched passersby before buying a canvas board and the above-mentioned terrible book. I then proceeded to Brisbane Square, where I drew people dancing and other people watched and commented and cactusdude took photos over my shoulder which he may put up when he gets back to Sydney (he asked first and gave me his card after).

Then I walked back to Milton and had a bite in what is invariably the dirtiest McDonald’s of my acquaintance and would have finished being artistic then and there except that Sinatra came on the radio and two policemen who were just leaving started singing and whistling to “I did it my way”, so I drew a quick picture of that. Then I walked home and tried to take a picture of a frond of bougainvillea (hah! got it right first time!) which would have made a very pretty border ornament, except it was too dark to pick up anything except a distant pool of streetlight on my phone, and so was home by a little after 11.

In the end, the photo shop gave me both sets of photos (glossy and matte) so there may be some left over and I will probably offer them to the earliest takers before very long.

This year, I am Not Being Embarrassed (much). Here are five things I have not been embarrassed about:

  1. Walking at work with the strap on my shoe broken (because what exactly was being embarrassed going to do to help anything? See also zip, below).
  2. Being seen by unexpected visitors wandering the house in a strappy singlet.
  3. Cupcakes. (Because “we’re grownups now and it’s our turn to decide what that means”).
  4. The url of the article I was looking at when the firm-wide email came around warning us not to abuse our internet freedom. (Thankyou so much /Karen/!)
  5. Having a photoshoot in the loungeroom while my housemates sat around drinking champagne and watching me, made-up and coiffed, being told to stand like that, tilt my head like this, smile, throw my arms out etc. Oh, and my zip broke.

I think I am growing as a person.

  1. Heath Ledger. My first thoughts on hearing of a death do not always reflect creditably on me. When I was on the bus to work my sister sent me an SMS with the news Heath Ledger had died. It was a shock, and my first thoughts were “Oh no!” which is rather better than I managed when Robert Jordan died. I suppose there is that disconnect when I only know of someone and relate to them through their work – it is easier to feel cheated of what they produce than to feel on more than an intellectual level that a person has died. Not right, but easier. And I had just been thinking the week before (after seeing the previews for Batman) that Heath Ledger seemed to be really coming into his own as an actor – that he’d ceased to be a fill-in-the-blank pretty face and was becoming an individual and a force to be reckoned with, that he was reminding me a little bit of Jack Nicholson and Tommy Lee Jones, and I was sorry for all the films he’d never make and I wouldn’t get to see.
  2. The Bulletin. I have mixed feelings on the folding of this magazine because it is not something I have much immediate emotional connection to. Like a house being torn down – not one I’ve lived in but one I’ve grown used to passing on my way to the corner shop. It was a very old publication, with some less than glorious moments (Australia for the White Man, etc), but it was… there. And now it’s only of historical importance.
  3. My cousin. Actually, he didn’t die. Concussion and some interesting scars are getting off pretty lightly when you’ve been shot in the head and arm during a home invasion.
  4. Not death, but with an appreciation for the beauty in decay and good manners in all things: Lady of the Manners and the Gothic Charm School.
  5. Honorary unsubscribes. I subscribe to This is True and the best and most fascinating part of the newsletter is the Honorary Unsubscribe, created to “recognize the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Obscure People who had an impact on our lives”, fully listed here, by – upon their death – honorarily unsubscribing them from the newsletter.

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