Saturday, 31 July 2010

The noddies
Okay Chris! You in the back there, mate! Now, while Tone's talking to camera, you stand right behind him and stare at the hair on the back of his noggin and we want you to really, really stare at it, okay?
Just keep staring at that hair, mate. It's Tony's hair. You lerrrrv it, okay?
And every now and again, just nod and smile a little, okay? We love that little frown, mate, but we really want you to nod. Tony will want you to nod.
Now, Chris, when that other lady wants to talk after Tony, you just shuffle over a bit and make room for Big Tone, cos he's gonna wanna look at her hair, and so are you, got that?
Now you all stare at it ... you really wanna stare at it ... nod and smile ...
Now, Shazza! While Jules is talking, right, you just smile straight at the hair on the back of her head, okay? And you can smile, don't forget to smile!
And don't forget you really really love what she's saying, so nod. We want you to nod. Julia will want you to nod. And stare ... don't stop staring, okay?

Monday, 26 July 2010

My three grads
From our wonderful celebration lunch yesterday.
Lily was unable to go to her graduation ceremony in Olympia, Washington, to get her cap and gown, so I made her a mortar board in Evergreen's dark green, which she wore all day!
Will (right) is next in line for one from a college or uni — his cap is from his high school graduation in California.
Simon's is the only authentic Australian one, for his B. Comm., from Curtin.
I am a very proud mum.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Another week
I think our state's daily newspaper has given up on grammar and the apostrophe. Unless fury is a verb ...
:: Meanwhile, at our quality suburban weekly, I have just one more issue to go until Sir comes back. If he comes back, that is: he's doing a whole lot of nothing on Santorini at the moment ... what bliss.
:: I'm knitting a lacy scarf.
This is in gorgeous wool that was spun and dyed by Suse, who is the absolute bee's knees when it comes to lace-knitting.
I'd thought about knitting a shawl, but I am very much a scarf sort of a girl, and I can't wait to finish this one. Perth has been so extremely cold this winter (3 degrees forecast for tonight).
More photographs of the scarf when it's done and blocked.
:: We have a big happy lunch scheduled for Sunday: Lily has graduated and we're celebrating!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Dem bones
I boiled up a couple of chicken carcasses yesterday, to make soup for today. It's a big footy day for Will and David (Dockers v Melbourne), and they love to come home from the oval to a bowl of good, hearty soup.
So there I was this morning, having strained the stock, picking over the bones to remove the best bits of the meat for the soup pot.
And trying not to think about whether the bits I was discarding (for the dog's bowl) would, in fact, go into commercially-made pies for human consumption.
To take my mind off that, I wondered whether in a past life I'd have been one of those little old Ancient Greek crones who rooted through the remains of freshly-slain chooks to see how the lads were faring in Thermopylae.
I figured that would probably have been my fate — the wizened, warted and moustached old dear — rather than being one of the tall, skinny ones who got the glam gig at Delphi and consorted with Heroes.
Anyway, that led me to wonder if, in the bones of the poor old boiler I had in my hands, I could foretell the fate of the Dockers at Subi this arvo.
But there was a distinct lack of oracular mistiness and scoreboard auguring.
And that led me to thinking about dead chooks as an Ancient Greek precursor to the interwebs.
And that reminded me of a conversation I had with my best friend Laura the other day.
We were in the car and I was parking on Rokeby Road, and she said to me: "Did you know you can use your wee to get wi-fi?"
And in a nano-second I thought, I must get Laura out more often, and away from whatever earth-mothery influences are driving her to such weirdness ... but then the double-I spelling kicked in and I realised my error.
The soup looks good!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A letter
Last night, and before I went to work this morning, I had the entire house in uproar because I couldn't find my slippers, and I hate, hate, hate going barefoot.
Then, at work in Sir's office, dealing with the 32,735 emails he gets, I read this:

The Editor
Post Newspapers

Dear sir/madam

I have a story I believe will be of great interest to your readers. I have taken the liberty of sending it as complete copy:

Gorgeous husband finds lost items

Lesley Zampatti of Menora is in for a pleasant surprise when she returns home from work today.

In her absence, her dashing yet diligent husband, David, has located her slippers and dressing-gown behind their bedroom door, where she had neglectfully discarded them.

Mr Zampatti refused to be drawn into criticism of his wife, saying only that she was “easily distracted these days” and should “up the dose”.
He dismissed suggestions of a reward, claiming that his wife’s happiness was all he ever asks for.


I can send photos of the items, including one involving the family pet, Yoshi (who was obviously pleased and excited to see the slippers again), if required.

Best wishes,


Monday, 12 July 2010

Darn sarth
My young best friend Isme brought me armloads of flowers early last week — Iceland poppies (above) still in bud, pots of daffodils, and loads of boronia — and they were so lovely I couldn't bear to go away for the weekend without them, so they came too.
By the way: you really should check out Isme's book blog. She writes so well about young adult and children's fiction, and even Random House has taken notice.
We had a fabulous extended weekend away, with some dramatic weather providing the perfect excuse to snuggle up indoors, light the fire soon after getting up and do almost nothing.
The hardenbergia (native wisteria) is starting to open, among our earliest blooming wildflowers. It always looks so magnificent when it twines its way close to a wattle in full bloom.
I say we did nothing all weekend, but there were, of course, a few walkies in the bush,
on the farm,
and on the beach,
well rugged up and skipping rainstorms.
I baked a cinnamon teacake and, for the first time in my life, scones.
They were a bit long in the oven, but yummy all the same.
We drove back this morning through even more rain, hail and storms.
And news reports of happy farmers.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

What is it with swum and swam?
Sunk and sank?
I just read in Meanjin (respected literary journal for writers and those interested in writing) a "sunk" when a "sank" was called for.
Why can't people — why aren't people taught to — differentiate between the simple past tense (I swam the Channel) and the past participle (I have swum the Channel)? The boat sank and the boat has sunk?
Is it so effing difficult?
Is the past participle on its way out? Do kids get taught about past participles? I often read "showed" when "shown" is needed.

:: And why do some young people use "then" when they mean "than"? Do they actually know there is a word, "than"? Do they get taught this?
Don't get me started on "your" and "you're", "its" and "it's" (I was seven when my teacher taught us about this — it IS NOT HARD), "lie" and "lay", and in the US, the almost universal use of "insure" when they mean "ensure".
I am in them.

:: And, between you and I*, what about the almost consistently incorrect use of the subject pronoun when the direct object pronoun is called for? Could you explain this to my readers and I*?
Do people think the word "me" is rude, or disrespectful, or informal? WTF is it?
Is is the Queen's fault? And she's the mon-uch, not the mon-ahk.

:: What do broadcasters, TV reporters, radio news people mean by as-AH-lum seekers?
And WTF is p-AH-sta? The Italian staple I know does not rhyme with master or faster. Grrrr.

:: And note to TV and radio journos - where TF are Wesperance and Weast Timor? As in: "Asahlum seekers will be sent to Weast Timor instead of being allowed to disembark in Ausraya."
And in: "The premier will fly to Wesperance."

:: Phew. I do feel a lot better now. I can get showered, get dressed, and go to work and deal with some of the above in a proper, grown-up fashion.
Thank you.

:: But I have to tell you: I also just saw on the morning news show that one of the humbler, soccer-playing nations has discovered an octopus that can predict the scores of soccer games. Finally! A way to make the game slightly interesting!

* My point, exactly!

Monday, 5 July 2010

One of our reporters, a lovely young Irish bloke who worked in London for the News of the World (eeeeeyew) and can't believe his luck to be working for us now, has had a baby daughter, Molly.
So this cot quilt, about 150cm square, is for Molly.
It has been one of my therapeutic projects — all straight lines, nothing complicated, the perfect way to unwind.
I've given it a wash and it's now in the dryer, so it'll be all crinkly and lovely when I hand it over tomorrow.
:: Will has just enrolled in second semester fine arts, doing painting, printmaking and illustration. The lucky doer. Wish I could go back ...
:: Lily completes her four-year liberal arts degree this month from her US college. Majoring in history, lit and politics. So proud of her for sticking with it, especially when the going got tough and she moved to another continent. And it's sad that she was unable to graduate and celebrate with all her college mates, many of whose photos are on the website if you look at "graduating year of 2010".
She's writing a Mills & Boon novel (Harlequin Romance for US folk). She emailed me the summary last night and I have to share ...
"Ruby resolves not to let him know about her medicine degree, focusing instead on her modelling career.
"Chuck resolves to convince her he is a dead-beat surfer-dude who only cares about riding waves..."
But ... after I explain that Ruby and Chuck share a deep admiration for Sir David Attenborough and his Planet Earth nature documentary series ... this is my real favourite bit:
"They buy heaps of candy and give themselves sugar rushes and watch Planet Earth at the Imax, which Chuck has rented exclusively for the purpose ..."
I think Lily has perfectly captured the essence of pulp romance, don't you?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

I quite liked this slideshow (click to watch) about our new prime minister, so I thought I'd share it with some of you folks from out of the zone.
The bloke narrating is a bit deadpan, but you might enjoy his lovely accent!

Brass monkeys
If this was the temperature at almost 9am, what did it get down to last night?
It was so effing cold I kept waking up with a cold nose and snuggling further under my doona, searching for the hottie.
Mind you, we did have the window open. We like it cold. Every winter, I long for the overnight temps to get below 10 degrees. When it gets cold like that, I shut down completely and I can sleep for Australia.
Yoshi jumped into bed with us at some freezing point last night and his little paws were icy cold — I know this, because he likes to kick us as he manoeuvres into the warmest position.
These old Australian homes were definitely built for the heat.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

More up the wall
So long since my last post ... woops!
Isn't this fab?
It's a handmade papercut card all the way from the gorgeous Emily in Wales. Thanks so much, Em! I love it - now I'll have to send you one back ...!
:: Last week, I was in Albany, visiting my parents and looking after my brother, who had surgery in the town's crowded and ancient hospital.
This week, I've been working full-time, and loving it. The sub-editor was away, so I was him for this last issue.
From next Monday I'll be the actual editor for a month and a bit while Sir is away. Yay!
:: Everyone seems on the move lately. One of our reporters has moved to New York. The sub-editor was in Bali this week. Sir will be in Italy and Greece from Saturday. My cousins in the UK have been to Turkey for their holidays. M is in Paris; Laura has been to the Red Centre and Sydney. David's brother and his family have been in France and Belgium for two months and now are in the US. Lily and Nick are off to Seattle and New York next month. Will's planning a trip to California.
But I'm happy with winter in Perth. My feet are only ever so slightly itchy ...
:: I'll be back up the wall tomorrow with my gorgeous best friend Maggie. Here's a hurried pic of how my mural is looking ...
... but it still has a way to go.