me, 1997, davenport creek

Random timer post

What I mostly write these days are Facebook posts or tweets. I tried Ello, and without an app, on my mostly used device of choice (iPhone), it was an exercise in frustration.

I've been seeing other old-school journallers pop up, and I keep writing entries in my head. The blank page sat in front of me just now, and I couldn't think of what to write. So I set my phone timer for three minutes, and gave myself permission to just type. Kinda like the NanoWriMo model. Get all the crap out of the way, down onto paper or into pixels, and then either toss that out, or carve the sculpture from the mass of stone. Or just get the writing muscles back in tune.

I also do a lot of homework and report type writing these days, and am trying to write a grant-style proposal to convince one of my employers that I deserve a shot at a program that would be a niche-appropriate use of the skills I've collected in over 30 years of working.

Holy crap, I've been working for pretty much 30 years. I almost read a piece earlier this week (one of the many open tabs I should revisit) about how the author has stopped doing/saying things that reflect on how old they are because 'x' thing happened "y" number of years ago. I'm not doing that, because saying I've been doing something for 30 years doesn't make me feel old, so much as realise that this might be why I feel like I know a little bit about a lot of things. Because I have done a lot of things. Domestic in a nursing home, bookkeeper and spare parts salesperson in a Subaru/John Deere Tractor dealership, front counter officer for the Australian Taxation department, cook in 3-4 places in South Australia, front counter officer in the Department of Social Security, tech support in the State systems department for DSS, systems testing coordinator in Canberra, payroll clerk in a nursing home, website architect designer and social media/email specialist in a marketing and advertising agency, accounts payable/receivable for a plumber, a swimming pool cleaner, a community centre, and currently a private detective agency, proofreader, organiser/archiver, and a finance officer in a community centre.

That is a wildly eclectic career path, no wonder employers don't quite know what to do with me. My current career deviation is to finish the financial counselling diploma I started in August, and to start and complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in Semester 1 in 2015. Along with trying to maintain some continuing Accounting studies.

I regularly bite off more than I can chew, but I keep chewing regardless.
me, 1997, davenport creek

Crackles and Cranberries

Crackles and Cranberries
Originally uploaded by amandapage
From a friend's cookie swap back on December 14th. I made the same things I made last year, as they were a hit. The white chocolate/cranberry bikkies are an adaptation of an Ocean Spray recipe (from the back of the Craisin's packet, if you live in the US.)

The Honey Crackles are an Australian tradition back to my childhood, possibly beyond. Their recipe is on the back of the cornflakes packet, if you live in Australia.)

Both recipes are on my recipe blog http:/www./
me, 1997, davenport creek

Christmas Comes But Once a Year, and so does Monkey Bread

A couple of years ago we had a bring a work pot-luck Christmas lunch. One of the staff members (from a Southern US state) brought in what she described as overnight bread, and what she said her family called Monkey Bread. They had it every Christmas morning.

I can see why you'd choose to have it perhaps just once a year, it's very rich and very sweet, and contains no fibre whatsoever. But very very tasty! For the last couple of years, Jeff and I have incorporated her tradition into ours. This year, we did the same.

After Christmas Eve at Jeff's oldest brother's house, and just before we went to bed, we did the minor initial assemblage for the bread. In the morning we (and when I say we, I really mean Jeff) got out of bed and popped the tray into the oven. Cue amazing smells and Monkey Bread came again this Christmas.

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me, 1997, davenport creek

Happy Day Meme (Day 3) - Kindness of Strangers

Jeff is a subcontractor, so we put his fortnightly cheque into our business account. Being a business name on the cheque, and a business checking account, there's usually a 3 business day hold on the cheque.

Some times, depending on the teller, the hold is not placed, and the funds are released immediately. Some weeks that comes in handy, but most of the time, I've budgeted for the 3 day hold, so it's not a big deal.

The cheque we deposited today should not have cleared before Monday, 3 business days and all that.

Reaching my hand into the drive up window slot to grab my deposit receipt, while thanking the cheery teller and wishing him a Happy Holiday, I felt around and found an envelope instead of the receipt. I pulled up a little ahead of the drive in spot to see what marketing material (or cheery holiday "We're closed, Merry Christmas" note perhaps, I'm not *that* much of a cynic (or ad agency employee, which with business paper collateral equates to the same thing) the bank had pre-stuffed into their envelopes.

I had to pull over and stare, because I pulled out a fistful of twenty dollar bills. Scanning the front of the receipt, the bit where Jeff had filled out the deposit amount, to see if he'd tried to game the system and have them clear the cheque by depositing less than the total amount (if you do that, on purpose or when not tallying the amounts correctly, they give you the difference back automatically, if you have cleared funds to cover), and no, the amount on the front and total of the slip equalled the full amount of the cheque.

Scanned the back to see if there was a tallying mistake there, and saw a) the whole cheque had cleared and b) the teller had deposited the balance of the cheque less the $200 cash in my hand. Called Jeff to make sure the balances in the online banking matched, and that the teller wasn't going to have dramas later on trying to tally up his till - I'll take a windfall but not at the expense of someone else having to cover the cash out of their pay on Christmas Eve. Karma (my karma) wouldn't be able to ignore me ignoring that.

Everything tallied up, no-one had extra or less money, other than that not only had our cheque cleared 3 days ahead of schedule, but they'd given us cash on a day when we could sorely use it. Christmas shopping this year had left us awfully close to the bone, and this gives us back our cushion.

I don't know if this was bank policy, or the teller did it on purpose, or by accident, but it made my day, and made me happy.
me, 1997, davenport creek

Happy Day Meme (Day 2) - 3 things, including a Picture

Today, I am happy for three things.

My last two Amazon packages that I needed for presents for Christmas arrived today. All that is left to be done is the wrapping.

Which leads me to Happy#2. Our day job was closing for Christmas vacation at noon on Wednesday, i.e Christmas Eve.

My boss let me know today, we have the whole day off, and paid too. A lovely surprise!

I need to go in and fix one thing, it's something I had planned to do on Wednesday, and I don't want to let the customer or my workplace down. But a quick dash in is all, and then all day to wrap presents and get prepared for our US family Christmas Eve gathering.

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me, 1997, davenport creek

A mile for a Mite, with spice.

I briefly went to Uni in Adelaide, in the 90s. The first (and only) class I took was English Lit. The first semester we studied literature that could be classified as new canon. Two that I remember, beyond fragments of story and no title springing to mind, are The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and The Golden Gate, by Vikram Seth.

The latter was my favourite book of the semester. A book written completely in verse, or tetrameter sonnets, it captured my imagination. I loved that the entire book, including the author and title; Seth is pronounced sate, and thus rhymes with Gate. It inspired me to write my best essay of the class, despite the fact that I really couldn't identify with pulling and teasing 500 words out of something, when all I had to say would fit on one page.

{I was also the only mature age student and really had a problem with some of the more wanky aspects of literary criticisms. One story, set in Africa, had a teenage protagonist. We sat in a circle, and everyone discussed her motivations vis a vis plot structure and blah blah blah. When it got to me, my point was, perhaps her motivations were not driven by anything other than she was 16, and didn't have any common sense.

Golden Gate, though, I didn't have a problem with that book. My teacher said she enjoyed the different perspective I bought to her class, and my essays and shared with me a story about Vikram. He'd visited Adelaide in a previous semester, and had billeted at her house in the Adelaide Hills. He carried a notebook everywhere, taking notes on ideas as they came, thoughts about his works in progress, general notes about this and that.

One morning at breakfast, Vikram mentioned to her that he'd been up late, writing, and he'd heard a loud guttural bellowing outside his room. What was that?

Oh yes, she said, the males looking for a mate.

He furrowed his brow, and then wrote something in his notebook, and then showed it to her.

"Miles looking for a mite."


A few years back, we went on a Christmas tour of historic houses in a local town. At each house, they had docents in each room, to explain the history of the house. My kitchen is 10 feet by 10 feet square, and one of these houses had a kitchen that could fit my kitchen and then my kitchen and probably my kitchen again.

At the end of the talk in this room, I went over to the docent, and told him how much I enjoyed the space in the room.

He looked at me and said "It's the candles!".

Cue furrowed Australian brow, while I tried to work out what candles precisely had to do with making the room seem larger, perhaps like mirrors but with flickering shadows?

While I looked at him and settled into bemusement, he continued on "They're pumpkin, I think."

Ah. The spIce in the room.

this entry inspired by hnpcc's entry.
me, 1997, davenport creek

Solace of Australia

Although "Quantum of Solace" is still playing at my local theatre, "Australia" isn't, it left just this past Thursday. Both of these movies fall under my classification of "movies that will lose visual impact once on the small screen", so we went hunting through the listings. Turned out, both movies were playing at the Towne Stadium 16, which is a short 45 minute drive from my town. Both movies were scheduled so we could see them in an afternoon - Quantum of Solace at 3:10, followed by Australia at 5:30.

Thoughts on Quantum of Solace. The Jack White/Alicia Keys duetted theme song was slightly less awful when viewed with the standard super-cool opening credits, as opposed to the film clip where they're bellowing at each other. Still not precisely a *good* Bond theme, but tolerable. Daniel Craig's eyes are beautifully lit throughout this movie, like pacific water with blue chips of ice. Following Mary's advice, I suspended all disbelief, and focused on making sure I knew where Daniel Craig was at all times. Several moments of this movie telegraphed their results way down the track, with some of the shots practically screaming out what was to come. (Fuel cells, what about the fuel cells?) but the scene with the fighter plane made me jump with (good) fright. All in all, a spicy confection of a film and I had a good time.

Australia is a full hour longer than Quantum of Solace, clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes. (I made sure to visit the loo between movies, and restrict my liquid intake.) Baz Luhrmann has a distinctive visual style that comes across as fairy-tale and make believe. It worked in this movie, for the most part, but I preferred the scenes that just let the Australian landscape shine. There were several points during this movie where I felt the time passing, and not in a good way, but each time it was rescued by Hugh (Jackman) and the amazing kid at the centre of the film, Brandon Walters, who plays Nullah. What an absolutely gorgeous young boy, just riveting every moment on screen.

Things I noticed that USA audiences may not. Rolf Harris's wobbleboard on the soundtrack! Every single Australian film and television actor of note in the past 30 years is in this movie. The word Boong.. That last one, American audiences should/will get that it's not a good word by the context, but I don't know that it'll have the impact on them that it had on me. The real context would be had, were there to be subtitles under the Australian dialect, and everywhere the word boong is used, it be replaced with the word nigger. That word has the shock value for someone from the USA, that the word boong (should have) has for someone from Australia.

The theme of the Stolen Generations really hit home. I was born in 1965. Mixed race Aboriginal kids were still being removed from their families right up until the late sixties and early seventies. To think that this appalling thing was still happening my lifetime, it just makes me sick.

Kevin Rudd, who I didn't get to vote for (he won office in 2007, on my birthday, lovely present!), he stepped up to the plate, and on behalf of my country, he said "
Sorry". (Unlike the half hearted opposition response, tosser. Deserved to have himself presented with everyone's backs.)

Not a perfect movie, but I'm glad I got to see it on the big screen. A country with the scale of Australia, it really needs a big canvas, and that it got.