Archive | April 2014

Council clean-up – collecting things by,

So I have a confession.

I often scavenge things from the kerbside council clean-up.

This year I took a clothes rack from a neighbour’s pile.


And I got these plant stands from a house on my walk.


In previous years I have collected an office chair. (Just when we needed one! How lucky is that!) And another clothes rack. And wire things for growing vines. And a tall laundry basket which I use to store my sons’ soccer boots and accoutrements.

One man’s trash and all that.

Council clean-up – disposing of things by,


Twice a year we have a kerb-side clean-up. We can put items that don’t fit in our rubbish bins, with some limitations, out on the verge which the council collects and puts, sadly, in landfill.

Before collection, people drive around and scavenge through the rubbish for resale, for scrap, for their own use. As you would expect, people throw out some perfectly good items. I saw several pieces of furniture that were perfect, including a wooden baby change table that had nothing wrong with it. That table didn’t last 24 hours.

You know I have difficulty in getting Mr Sans to agree to dispose of items. Under our house we had two bikes that were not used. One was mine and bought before kids. I wasn’t allowed to sell I or donate it. (The kids might use it.) So what happens instead, it rusts and rots under the house until it is no good for anyone (and hasn’t been used by anyone for many, many years). But now Mr Sans feels OK to put out for council cleanup. (We’ve had this before for other things.)

This time we put out two bikes, a razor scooter and a “dead” lawn mower. All were collected by scavengers within an hour. So happy to see they may be used by someone, even if only for scrap metal!

The only thing of our hard rubbish left for council collection was our old Christmas tree. We had this one for about 10 years but some little plastic thingy in the stand was broken and it was unsafe.

Yay! I had success in getting under the house slightly cleared out. Mr Sans thinks it is OK to have broken and unwanted things out of sight under the house together with those things needed and used, such as gardening equipment. With the bikes, scooter and lawn mower gone, the space is more useable, and safer. No worries about things falling on you. Better line of sight so you can find the things you want and avoid things (like spiders and other pests. Was that a snake? No, just a piece of hose. Phew!)


But it’s useful!

Do you find it hard decluttering something that might be useful some undefined time in the future?

Do you live with someone who doesn’t like anything being thrown away?

My decluttering efforts often come into conflict with Mr Sans. He likes to bring things into the house. And when he buys something, he generally buys multiples. Just in case.

Just in case of what? Famine? Flood? A run on Butterscotch schnapps in the shops? A world shortage of Dunlop Volleys?

While I’m telling tales out of school, once he bought dozens of polo shirts because he said the company would stop making 100% cotton ones. These shirts were his favourite work top. But then he changed to button down shirts. What happened to the polo shirts, you ask? They got stored for the future. He won’t tell me where because he knows I will donate them to St Vinnies.

The kids laugh when I thrown something out. They know I have to hide items under other things in the bin lest they be rescued by Dad. Even when he has forgotten we own something AND we haven’t used it for years, if I throw it away, he will “rescue” it.

So that brings me to today’s decluttered items.

Mr Sans brought those home from work a year ago. Plastic cups!


We don’t use them. We won’t use them. We serve in glass and wash up. We both hate single use plastic and hate drinking from them.

Why’d he bring them home? They might be useful.

Why’d he keep them? Ditto.

Yes, we might, a very slim might, have a large party one day where plastic cups would be useful. But that might doesn’t outway having these clutter our kitchen cupboards.

So, and please be quiet about this, I took them to work.

We will use them there. Drinks for kids. Staff functions.

I will keep chipping away at home. Did I tell you about the bikes? No, save that for another decluttering story.

The end of the end of term break

In every first week of term I am asked, innumerable times, “Did you have a nice break? What did you do? Did you go anywhere?” Just as I have been asked innumerable times prior to a term break, “Going anywhere?”

Why this obsession with going somewhere?

When you answer, “No,” it is as if you have to justify, rationalise yourself. “No, but I’m catching up with friends.” “No, but….”

“Oh, yes, you’ve done a staycation before.”

Even stranger when I say I am going to my mother’s. “Where does she live?”

“Oh, Queensland. That will be nice.”

Well, actually I am going to my mother’s to see my mother, not to Queensland. I won’t be sight-seeing, or going out.

You might think I have given this too much thought, but I have had over a hundred term breaks. That’s a lot of conversations about “What have you done? Did you go anywhere?”

So here’s what I have done for my emotional well-being this term break. And no, I didn’t “go” anywhere.

  • Had drinks to celebrate the end of term. A friend pulled this one out of her fridge.
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    I am sure the French don’t pronounce it as billy cart salmon. However you say it, it was divine.

  • Had a dinner for over 20 people with some long term friends and family to celebrate my sons’ birthdays. (What? No photos? Sadly, everyone was too busy enjoying themselves to whip out the phone or camera.)
  • Slothed, lazed about, day-dreamed, stared into the distance, snuggled under a blanket, sat in the sun, ruminated, fantasised, had slow breakfasts looking out at my camellias flowering.
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    And the plants and birds beyond my verandah.


  • Watched movies – both good and bad. (Sharknado, is so awful it’s funny, but if time is precious to you, give it a miss. Do see The Gand Budapest Hotel.)
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  • Read blogs, magazines, books.
  • Decluttered.
  • Had family over (14 including us) for a curry feast at Feater, I mean Easter.
  • Hosted an Easter Sunday lunch with a neighbouring family for which I whipped up homemade hummus, tabbouleh and sweet chilli chicken.
  • Flew to Queensland and caught up with family. Had lunch out and afternoon tea with female family members. Vegetarians and those avoiding fat and salt, look away.
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    Actually, that wasn’t too bad. The meat, and it was mainly fish, bugs and prawns, were hidden by the hands, wine glass and chips. And the bug on my plate is upside down, so hard to make out. But this shot of the last plate has little lambies all cut up.


  • Watched the sun set from the top of a mountain in the state that is beautiful one day, perfect the next. The sky was so blue and so wide during the day. The sunset so glorious.
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  • Walked every second day. Did some exercises and stretches.
  • Had a therapeutic massage.
  • Bought some clothes. Very different pieces, not chain store items. And the MOST BEAUTIFUL dress. See!
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    This dress has the most gorgeous detail on the neck line. It’s a gold chain wrapped in two ribbons. Beautiful!

    All the clothes were sourced in boutiques in Queensland. I know I won’t run into anyone with the same clothes. And Dar, that dress is actually made in Canada.

  • Had an acupuncturist treatment.
  • Went to the dentist, had a chipped tooth repaired and a routine check and clean.
  • Had my dot painting stretched.
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  • Ate heaps of hot-cross buns and Easter eggs. Bugger! The waist is expanding again!
  • Finally made the vegetarian lasagne I have been meaning to but put off because I find lasagnes too convoluted. And it was THE BEST.
  • Baked a cake.
  • Hung out with my kids and husband.
  • Had my car serviced and rego done so I don’t have to worry about it when it is due during the early part of term.
  • Yep, had a nice break, did lots of things, and didn’t “go” anywhere.

    Local stories.

    Been watching any good local TV lately?

    Here’s some of my recent favs.

    The Doctor Blake Mysteries – moody, murder mysteries set in 1950s small town Australia. Love the use of colour and the sets. Ballarat is gorgeous. Really get the oppressive, claustrophobia of post-war Australia. The acting is top notch too. Worth getting a box set to watch.


    Rake is hysterical. Witty, mad, poignant. (That’s both the show and the central character.) He is ethical and deeply honourable while being a lying, cheating, drug-taking, gambling, alcoholic. Self-destructive and infuriating; he is manic and like the catherine wheel fireworks on the opening credits, he burns himself out in an increasingly speedy mania. But you have to love him. Can’t see the American adaptation working. If you don’t like swearing, don’t watch this. (Or if you don’t like any of the other things that get it an MA rating.)

    Farck, can’t wait for its/his return.


    The end of Janet King was a bit obvious but it told a good tale of corruption and murder. And isn’t Marta Dusseldorp brilliant and beautiful?


    Love her in Series 1 of A Place to Call Home and can’t wait for the next series. OK, this is a bit melodramatic and soapy, but again the series really captures the era, and the drama is good.


    Of course, everyone loves The Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. Will there be another series? Hope so.

    My god, the costumes are brilliant. I saw the costume exhibition. Just amazballs.


    A break from drama is Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell. Being satirical, the topics will date, and the show may not travel well outside of Australia. Still, he is so clever, and can pull the most amazing faces. A very funny show.


    No reality shows among my list. No weight loss. No bake off. No renovations but only in one hour/day/weekend.

    We need narrative to entertain us; good narrative needs good writers.

    And we need to see and hear ourselves. (I do watch a lot of shows from the UK and the US. A post for a later date.)

    This entry was posted on April 24, 2014, in TV and tagged . 12 Comments

    High-brow / low-brow movies

    In the last 24 hours I have watched two very different movies – one high-brow, one low. No, who am I kidding? One was just plain awful. But both will give you something to talk about.

    First to the high-brow. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. I agree with At the Movie’s Margaret. 5 out of 5 stars. Exhilarating. Beautiful. I absolutely adored it.

    A tale within a tale within a tale. Both the story and the cinematography were quirky and original. The scenery was gorgeous. Moments of pure terror and madness. And fabulous acting.

    If you haven’t seen it, do so.

    Mmmm. I cannot write with such certainty or admiration for my next film. Indeed both Margaret and David have ignored this gem.

    It was stupid, scary, poorly scripted, laugh-out-loud bad special effects, some shocking acting.

    There’s sharks. And there’s a tornado.

    As the poster says, “Enough said.”

    Except to say it has connected my son and me with some great in-jokes about the ridiculous nature of the movie. And that I watched this on free-to-air TV, so no money was wasted. Breathe easy. I would never have gone to the cinema to see this. I don’t have that bad a taste or discernment in movies.

    Are you amazed at my eclectic taste? What’s the best and worst movie you’ve recently sat through?

    Happy Easter

    Happy Feaster to you! When eating a glutinous amount of chocolate is kinda OK.

    Plenty of Red Tulip – my favourite Easter chocolate, best eaten cold from the fridge.

    Ohhh! The whole experience is sensuous. The crack as you take the first bite. The scent from the hollow egg or bunny. The rich chocolate melting in your mouth.


    But don’t you fret, now don’t you frown, cause I have some non-chocolate decorations.

    A gift from a student in 1999. Cause we’re gunna party like… No?


    More bunnies!


    And one more for good luck.


    Gone are the days of eating chocolate all day and feeling fine. Sadly, or maybe happily, even gone is the desire to eat chocolate all day. Leave that to the whippersnappers.

    I am off to make hummus, tabbouleh, sweet chilli chicken and satay chicken for a neighbourly lunch.

    Where do you hold your hands?

    Do you subscribe to the holding of hands in the general area of crutch? Much like the fĂȘted royal.




    Or do you find this mildly annoying?

    If you don’t care, either because you don’t care about the royals or handbags/clutches, please take a stand and find a position. Maybe stand up as you read and hold your hands. Where do they fall? See, even the current favourite Royal holds her hands there even without a clutch.



    Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she’s skinny. Yes, she has lovely hair. Yes,she’s wears beautiful clothes.

    But why does she hold her hands there? I don’t see women, and I see a lot of women, holding their hands in their crutch region. It’s as unfathomable as when she bowed her head when passing military or memorial thingies when they were married.

    Today’s little corner

    Today’s “little things tidy up” starts with a riddle: when is a arm rest not an arm rest?

    When it is used as a storage space.



    What do I have there? And why are they on the lounge arm rest?

    Do you get too much paper coming into your home? Things with stuff waiting to be read; things that you might need in the future; slips, receipts waiting to be filed, paid, or otherwise dealt with; stuff you keep because it looks like a good idea for the future; stuff that comes in when you just don’t have time or energy to deal with it so plonk it on top of other piles.

    That’s what my arm rest is for! OK, I hate the look but needs must and all. Busy women can’t have it all.

    So today’s the day to fix this little corner.

    Some out of date junk mail is straight into the recycling bin; receipts and records filed; recipes cut from magazines thrown out (get real, I’m not going to cook them); writing paper, post-its, book, ear-phones put away.

    What’s that’s in the corner you ask? One of these:


    Quick review of the Truback: save your money. Don’t buy it. Waste of money, uncomfortable and doesn’t do much. Get a Pilates pole for less than half the price and more versatile:


    Anyway, my arm rest is an arm rest once more. And able to be enjoyed by the hand-sewn and free-hand embroidered bunny, made by my mother.



    My dot painting

    Only one year after I bought it I finally got my dot painting onto a frame. The photo doesn’t show the dots or the design as beautifully. But trust me, it is lovely. And the patience to do all those dots and keep the symmetry when just doing it free-hand! Far beyond me.

    Here it is:


    Next time I go back to Alice I am getting a colourful one.

    This was painted by Kirsten Kitson, born 1973. Her aboriginal name is Nungarrayi. The painting is acrylic on canvas and came with a certificate of authenticity which gives some explanation of the painting:

    Bush damper seeds (spinifex grass) is a plant that produces small seeds which are collected and then ground to create bush flour to make a damper. Songs are sung during ceremonies which tell stories about the gathering of this particular plant. The dots represent the seeds and the lines the stems. It is a seed that can only be harvested for a short period of time before it falls off into the sand and is then lost.

    So there you go. The painting just spoke to me. Don’t know why as we don’t have a black and white theme is our house.

    What I am not happy with is the stretching. When I picked it up the framer said that the painting is not square – they rarely are as they do them free-hand sitting down – so while the painting meets the frame on one end, on the other end it doesn’t. You can see it on the bottom right corner. So why didn’t the framer ask me before he stretched it? I would have said tuck some of the painting around so that no white was exposed.

    I think I will have it redone. What do you think?