Sunday, January 1, 2012


So it's that time of year again. And the morning after the night before...

New Years Eve 2011 was fairly sedate to be honest. It began in the middle of a raging storm, continued with a few wines with my darling friend Florence, continued into the 'night club district' (ha!) of Kalgoorlie and ended around 1am - very early by our usual standards. Truth be told, I'm feeling better for having an earlier night. I'm definitely getting old and sensible.

I have made a few resolutions.

1. Giving up sugar.

Now, I don't eat badly really. I love good food. Frankly, I'm a bit of a food wanker. I also love bad food, and it's here that I fall down. The worse the food, the higher the carbohydrate content, the more rabid I become during eating. I really don't have a shut off switch when it comes to sugar.

I've also reached a point in my life where I am 'bigger' (read: fatter) than I have ever been and than I really ought to be at this age. I don't think I've ever been a 'small' girl - maybe in primary school - and I do carry it well (if I say so myself) and most importantly have never had an 'issue' with it. I do now.

Recently I downloaded Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar e-book and I thought Yep, I can do this - and I should do this. That said I defeated my 1 January seediness with a big bowl of rice and peas with chilli and soy sauce... Rome wasn't built in a day...

2. Read a book a fortnight

2012 is the National Year of Reading and originally I had set the bar at a book a month, but my sister convinced me to aim a little higher. It's not just the act of reading itself, because I do read a lot, but the quality of the text. Of late, I've become a tad too fond of the thrillercrimepolicedrama novels that my Mother borrows from the library and it seems to be all I'm reading.

My last reading obsession was with Australian History and fiction with a social history bent - I devoured Van Diemen's Land: A History by James Boyce and completely lost my emotional banana over The Harp in the South by Ruth Park. This time around I'm focusing on a genre that I have zero experience with - American Literature. I'm thinking the angst of The Catcher in the Rye and in non-fiction the great migrations and the Frontier.

Yes, I am a nerd.

To avoid this becoming a socially isolating resolution, I've roped Florence in to it. We decided last time we had dinner that we needed to make more of an effort to see each other - differing work schedules etc etc - and last night over wine we created our own little book club. Lord knows how functional it will be, but two birds and all that jazz. Because she had just acquired a copy of Grapes of Wrath this will be our first read. 

3. Focus on my professional self

Nine days before Christmas my workplace closed its doors. I know. Awesome. It wasn't a job I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but - god damn it - it paid the bills. At the moment there isn't a whole lot out there so I'm taking it as an enforced holiday to poverty.

Losing my job also gave me a glimpse of my future - that of going job to job in administrative and support roles for the rest of my life. I do have a professional qualification - Secondary English Teaching - but I would, quite frankly prefer to pull my fingernails out slowly than practise it. So I need a new one. To this end I am going to do the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Completely unglamourous, but functional and portable and something to build on.

This resolution, to my mind, is also the start of next year's resolution to crack down and focus on saving for my Tasmanian rural dream.

So, here's to 2012. Last year was an odd one - not a bad year, but one that was a little all over the place. 2012 will hopefully be a chance to build on the good that came my way and to move on from - and more importantly learn from - the unpleasantness. Cheers!

Friday, December 2, 2011


A friend and workmate of mine was regaling people with a story about me yesterday at work. On my first visit to Kalgoorlie in 2008 we went to a pub about 40 minutes out of town and I didn't want to get out of the car. I was 'green' in her opinion, 'very green.'

(In my defence the previous 5 days of drinking had caught up with me and I was very, very ill.)

Obviously, I did leave the vehicle. But really, first impressions, would you?

I've been there a couple of times since and I do go inside - I even use the bathrooms! - but it got me thinking about me 'then' vs 'now.'

I still carry hand sanitiser around in my hand bag, I still think Evian water spray is essential for dealing with the dry desert air, there are still pubs that I really prefer not to enter and some that I just won't and I still think one should always attempt to dress appropriately for the situation. My social politics haven't changed, in fact they've firmed and I still wake in the morning craving Chinese BBQ. I'm actually more 'me' than I ever was and that is just fine.

So today marks 2 weeks until I'm out of a job. The not-for-profit tourist facility that I work at (Reception / Accounts Assistant - terribly exciting job) is closing its doors to the public today. An external board was instituted in the last big round of funding it received and they, in all their wisdom, have decided that it was all too hard and have closed the doors for an expected 3 months. (I've given myself a strategic day off today. Frankly I can't bear the constant talk and rending of garments the closure has induced.)

Obviously, I'm not impressed. Less than a fortnight before Christmas isn't really an ideal time to be job hunting and based on my previous lack of success I don't have a lot of hope. It's true to form though, I decide I'm going to stay for a bit longer, I meet a lovely man and BAM job lost. In my favour, my unemployment is not my fault and I'm hoping whoever screens my application for the perfect job takes pity and puts me on the top of the pile...

In the mean time, wish me luck.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hi there!

Been an awfully long time hasn't it? I have been avoiding you, truth be told. I wanted to have something more to say. How fabulous and successful I'd become, might've been nice. Hell, telling you I'd moved out of my Mother's house would have been a major triumph.

But no. What I can tell you is that I'm doing well. Really well. So well, I've decided to stay on beyond my end of year cut off.

It's a not so long, but very boring story about having friends. The general trajectory being that I have a lovely group of honest to goodness, all my own, friends. We do silly things like text each other while watching the same TV show in our separate houses or have joint birthday parties and yes, have sleepovers and talk about boys. It is fabulous and it's something I really haven't had in the last seven years. I still have my issues with Kalgoorlie and West Australia in general (to put it mildly) and I still miss Sydney so much I dream about it sometimes... but it's not something I'm willing to let go of just yet.

I have placed a couple of caveats on my staying - and I'm putting them down here to FORCE me into complying.

1. I will get my license.

To be frank, I don't really know how I've managed the past year with no car. The public transport system here is completely laughable, and as my sister will attest, my Mother is not exactly forthcoming with lifts. My past place of employment was exactly 7 minutes - in a straight line - from home and walking was a breeze. Currently I'm working five and a smidge kilometres from home. A distance that I have neither the time nor inclination to walk and am currently paying between one hundred and one hundred and fifty dollars a week in taxi fares. Not ideal, obviously.

This had been part of my plan from the beginning, I admit. As an example of how blase about the whole thing I am, I still don't know which State department is responsible. Being WA it's probably Liquor and Gaming... Meow.



Self explanatory really. Be prepared for a post examining the pros and cons of buying new furniture vs having my belongings taken out of storage and shipped over. Not even prepared to think about that yet.

The rental market is an odd one here. It's cheaper than Sydney, definitely, but not reeeally that cheap. Particularly if you aren't working in the mining industry. So in the meantime, if anyone knows of anyone lovely looking for a flatmate in Kalgoorlie - close to town, own bathroom would be nice, quiet, enjoys a wine and the ABC on a Friday night  - be sure to let me know.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I know it's been a while, I've been alternating between feeling apathetic and being busy for the last month, so please forgive me...

My last post re my date was intended to be a two parter, let's just say it went well. He's nice, the dinner was nice, it was all very... nice. He confessed when we sat down to eat that it was his first ever date and was really rather nervous. I found this quite sweet and proceeded, with my own limited experience, to set a good example - pouring the wine, continuing conversation etc etc. And aside from the intensely awkward goodnight kiss, I had fun.

There is only one problem. He is intensely annoying. He talks about money all the time, and he complains. Boy, oh boy, does he complain. About everything. From the weather to the size of my breasts (imagine "they're just so... big." My response "well you don't have to touch them"). He can be fun sometimes, and he does have other attributes (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), so I just think we'll keep it casual for the time being.

Last month I headed back to the east coast for the wedding of two wonderful wonderful people. I got to stay in the Hunter Valley for a couple of nights and catch up with a whole bunch of people that I hadn't had a chance to speak to since moving over here which was just divine. I did manage to make a new friend too, and am now in the middle of an outrageous cross country text flirtation. I'll admit that I'm rather enjoying it.


How's the serentity...
Seriously, you could hear cows mooing

I also got to experience the true horror of having both my parents in the same place at the same time after, at least, 15 years of non communication. The bride in her magnanimity invited them both, and at least one of them behaved like a mature adult. As a trial run for future family scenarios, while it could have gone better, it wasn't all bad. I had been imagining a myriad nightmarish situations - running from screaming arguments to a passionate rekindling of a long dead flame - so Mother's out and out rejection of his existence coloured with more than a hint of disdain was a happy medium I could live with.

Following the wedding, I spent a delightful yet exhausting five days with my Grandma in the Southern Highlands. Her 87 years have, unfortunately, caught up with her. The once feisty and whip-sharp woman has become forgetful, frustrated and frustrating. My Dad is living with her at the moment and, in an attempt to find some way through what he and his sister are feeling, is attempting to quantify the change in her behaviour. Something I have a (currently) mild distaste for. Unfortunately for the siblings the only diagnosis they have received is that of 'Mild Cognitive Disorder' i.e. she is an 87 year old woman. Equally unfortunately, I have a very strong feeling that this is only the beginning of something that most families will go through, something that we are going to have to navigate with sensitivity and a level head.

In my head I had marked this trip as the point were I decided whether to buy a one way ticket home or continue on my Kalgoorlie journey. Obviously, I went for the return option, but it has thrown up a whirl of thoughts about home and connection and priorities. When the dust settles I'm sure I'll know what to do. If I don't already.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dinner and a movie.

I have a date tomorrow night. A good old fashioned, taking me out for dinner, date. My first in a very long time.

We met last weekend. I was out with my new dear best friend Florence and two boys started talking to her inviting us to sit with them. I assumed she knew them so followed along. Turns out she didn't - her being Irish she chats to anyone and everyone with a friendly face. His flatmate was taking him for a night out because his long term girlfriend back home in New Zealand had broken up with him the day before. It was all very pleasant - there was talk of tractors, the Baltic region of Europe and our various journeys to Kalgoorlie, including a very interesting tale of working life on a fishing boat - and after a while we went our separate ways.

Later that evening we bumped into them again, the chat resumed, his flatmate wandered off and Florence absented herself from the group whispering to me 'he really likes you - I'm off to mingle.' We had another drink, there was a brawl (not unusual for a Kalgoorlie night spot after one in the morning) and I decided it was time to head home. He very politely asked for my number, saying he would like to see me again and could he walk me home. We went via his house were he made me a cup of tea and we chatted for about an hour. He gave me a kiss on the cheek outside my gate and that was that.

He texted me the next day (before midday! Bless him) to say that he had a nice time, and on Tuesday he asked me out for dinner.

So yeah, a good old fashioned dinner date. I haven't slept with him, I haven't even kissed him and he is taking me out. He's nice, if a little timid and certainly a touch damaged at the moment so I'm taking all this very cautiously.

I'll be sure to tell you how it goes...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Christmas tradition.

My first Kalgoorlie Christmas and new year is over. It wasn't so bad - apart from the heat... The town being what it is, it was an eerily quiet period. It seems all the workers return to their various homes and the families jet out to visit relatives in capital cities or escape the heat on the coast. Into the second week of January and the town is still rather deserted; restaurants and some pubs are still closed, shops are still operating on reduced hours.

Mama and I spent Christmas with some mutual friends. It was quite nice really - all seafood and Pimms and dips in the pool. And new years was spent in the usual Kalgoorlie way, drinks at a bbq before heading into town and making the rounds of the nightspots.

Despite the fact that I was here with Mum, I still felt a strange disconnect from the 'traditions' of Christmas past. For as long as I can remember Christmas has carried along the same lines. It's either Newcastle with Mum's family or Goulburn with Dad's family. Both involve an irritating Christmas eve pilgrimage and an over night stay in a spare room at an Aunty or Grandma's house. Both involve a Christmas morning watching the various cousins, and cousins of cousins, opening massive amounts of presents, a (usually late) lunch, an afternoon of drunk parents and naps in the spare room and an evening in the back yard on folding chairs. The next day, a train trip or drive back home. While similar in outline, the various Christmas experiences are a world apart (and never the twain shall meet).

I can only remember one Christmas with both parents together in the same place. We were on the farm, so it must have been '85 or '86 and it would probably have been the first Christmas post parental marriage breakdown. Dad turned up on his motor bike while my sister and I were still in our pyjamas, presents were exchanged and some photos taken. I just remember this awful sadness from Dad and my own mixture of excitement and confusion. It being a 'Mum' Christmas we probably then headed off to Newcastle.

The Newcastle Christmas has it's own particular groove. You can be guaranteed to receive a mug filled with chocolates or a bottle of shower gel or bar of soap with a face washer/tea towel/hand towel or something from the Christmas Avon catalogue as a gift. There will be a bowl of tinned pineapple on the table during lunch that noone will touch and later in the day the Aunties will get a bit tipsy and start teasing each other. The next morning will always be a bacon and egg breakfast cooked on the bbq by favourite Uncle Neville.

The Goulburn Christmas seems a world away. Grandma will put the vegetables on to boil at 10 in the morning and around 12 we will be roped in to setting the table. There will be an argument about this time too - Grandma will make a characteristic comment about how Australians don't know the 'proper' way to celebrate Christmas and Dad will characteristically rise to the bait. Grandma will wander back into the kitchen pretending not to hear him and Dad will storm into the sanctuary of the back yard to vent on favourite Uncle Anthony who will, in his gentle way, listen and nod. We will then all sit down to sweat over a full hot Christmas dinner (lunch).

The traditions are changing now. They have too, I suppose. Most of the 'children' are in their late twenties or early thirties some with children of their own. We now sit in the folding chairs or on the grass drinking with the adults. Uncle Neville passed away a few years ago so the bbq breakfast is cooked by someone else, next year Uncle Anthony will probably be spending his Christmas in his retirement in England and Grandma is 87 now and doesn't generally cook a full dinner (much to my dismay she hasn't done her bread sauce or onion sauce for some years now). My sister and I don't adhere as firmly to the turn taking model anymore - I spent a few Christmases with the Dutch Boy's family when we were together and hell, I even hosted lunch at my place once - and I now take the train on Christmas morning to avoid the orgy of present opening.

We're developing our own traditions. My sister and I make sure we always have a new Christmas day frock to wear and I'll make a chocolate pavlova or arrive with a big bag of clinking wine bottles. One day, I assume, we will have our own kids and partners and the guidelines for the festive season will shift even further. A few constants remain though, Christmas is Christmas and family is family. And ever shall it be.

So a belated merry Christmas to you all, and all the best for 2011! And if you're so inclined tell me your defining Christmas moment - I'd love to hear it...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old enough to know better.

Disclaimer: I did not commit this act of senseless vandalism. I did however laugh uproariously and take a photo.

The ladies toilet, Palace Hotel, Kalgoorlie.
19 Dec 2010, 2.24am.

I feel better now. You may consider the subject closed.