Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On your back beyond the sea

It never fails - stop to count your woes and pretty soon you'll catch sight of all your uncounted blessings. That happened for me today. I was in court (as an observer, not a witness, accused, prosecutor or advocate) and I met some very brave people who were succeeding despite really onerous circumstances. I also met some great people who worked together to help change people's lives. It was gratifying.
I knew it was going to be a great day as I stepped off the train and spotted this written hastily on the steps:


Not enough fingers to count my blessings

I've no idea whether this will work. I'm using Posterous to enhance the quality of my photos. This test shot was provided by learned friend who I believe can now be crowned the Tulip King. He took this in his kitchen. Seriously.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grass grows on the weirs

Last week was an unsatisfactory week. 

All sorts of traumas and botherings have visited my professional life and personal life. One bothersome episode is manageable; unfortunately I have had a herd of them. For example: migraines. I collected five in the last eight days. Here's another example: goji berries. 

There is no need to fear goji berries, or so I thought. I was mixing them in with my cereal in the morning, scoffing them in the afternoon as a cheerful tasty scarlet snack. Well, the pack said they were full of antioxidants and quite likely to make you bionic. I'm a sucker for that kind of marketing. 

Meanwhile, as I chewed the goji berries, my nose bled continuously. Bruises appeared on my arms and legs, first little blue patches but turning regularly into great big stains. And I wasn't' growing bionic. I was getting more exhausted and more pale. 

Turns out goji berries, or the little red devil berries as they are now known in this house, contra-indicate with warfarin, a drug I take in large doses daily. I was lucky I didn't dissolve. 

Here's more bothersome: On Friday I was invited to very posh drinks. Which was all well and good but I was dressed in my casual Friday clothes. I went anyway because I heard a rumour they were serving party pies. Alas, I was under-dressed and there no pies. I made up for it later by having Friday night noodles with my lovely spouse. 

That is an underdressed woman wondering how many kilos of noodles she could eat before the kitchen closes. (Answer: not as many as she thought she could.) 

And here's what she looks like when her spouse's phone does something very smart: 
My spouse's phone is about as smart as my phone. We have to keep them separated for if they were to ever meet we're pretty certain they would take over the world. 

After a fairly vile week, I had to then put in a somewhat vile and stressful weekend. I dressed for comfort and agility should I need to make a quick getaway.

You're seeing an Old Navy jacket from SanFrancisco, a striped top from Zara, a vest from Gap, J.Brand jeans and a Prada bag that always makes me feel capable. 

But it's not all bad, even though mostly it is. There are a couple of respites. Like this gorgeous silk crepe de chine scarf I found for nine dollars in a vintage clothing shop in Newtown on Saturday afternoon: 
And it's nearly spring. The sweet peas are here already, and they smell glorious. 
Those colours just about put everything right. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The shoe fits

Another day, another endless to-do list, another black dress - but today Spring stuck it's pink nose around the corner so the tights and boots stayed in the wardrobe. Out with the sheer tights, and out with the black glace leather Ferragamos. 

These are the Vara pumps, a staid, low heeled shoe that Ferragamo has been making since 1978. They're a little stodgy, a little refined and very respectable. 

The defining feature is the gold plate in the centre of the grosgrain bow. It really lights up in the Spring sun. 

I'm not sure how Ferragamo sizes work - their shoes are notoriously narrow. I am wearing a 9 on my size 8 foot. They fit comfortably, but there's no room to spare. I imagine all the models and fitters at the Ferragamo factory to be long lean women with feet like flamingos. 

I have another migraine today so flat, dependable and slightly school-marm shoes were a great comfort.
If the migraines continue tomorrow I'm thinking about stomping into work in trainers.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pick the flowers in other people's gardens

This ugly and very busy day is winding itself up with a migraine, so unfortunately I have no evidence of my new coat for you. I wore it with a very plain black dress, and very stern pinstriped jacket, and some austere black pumps. I felt quite formidable, aching head and all. 

I have got pictures of gold things though. I concentrate on bright primary colours when I get migraines to try and make my myself a little warmer. I read somewhere that this helps migraines. 

It's never worked for me but it's fun to think of yellow things.  Like these chips. 

 And this profoundly uninterested cat I met last week when we were house hunting. He had no enthusiasm at all for the prospect of living near me. 
 This chair could be called golden if you view it in a low light and you're not wearing your glasses. I love it but sadly it is not what I'd call affordable. I'd would, however, describe it  as extremely expensive. And golden. 
 Cheddar coloured gerberas. Cheese and flowers. A perfect storm.   
 I actually use this to help with the nausea from migraines. Few things calm my stomach like Vegemite on toast. 
Oddly enough I feel a little better. If you know anything about migraines, or actually suffer from them, I'd be mighty interested to hear about it. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Knows to bring honey

Either this winter has been mild or my internal thermostat has adjusted itself again and rendered me almost insensible to Sydney's brand of cold. 

To wit: I have slept under cotton quilts with cotton flannel sheets all season, and worn a wool coat only once. 

I've spent the rest of the winter  in a the Banana Republic trench coat I bought in New York eighteen months ago. I'd never owned a trench coat and was a little sceptical of their recurring khaki inclusion on every ten-garments-you-must-own list. 

There was no recognisable gap in my life for a trench coat, or so I thought. I bought it on a New York whim, seduced by the way it had been styled on the store mannequin - with some slouchy blue trousers and a carelessly light pink cotton jumper - and end up wearing just about every day last winter and every day this winter. 

So it was a disaster of middle class proportions when the dry cleaner lost the belt. It doesn't work without the belt. I tried every thing - leather belts, velvet belts, no belts, unbuttoned -  but nothing looked right. 

So I've been wearing other coats but I don't look right. I feel odd in my clothes, odd on the train, odd walking through the park to work. 

I could bear it no longer and at lunch time today I cracked and bought another trench. 

It looks entirely unremarkable, almost identical to my American trench. 
 Except it has a belt. 

The quilts are more interesting, at least at first glance. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Romance has no part in it

The house hunt continues. I'm starting to think I just like looking in all the different houses rather than actually choosing one. My least favourite are the styled places, all coiffed and cleaned to the realtor's instructions. They are predictable and false. The details set my skin crawling - salad forks in preposterous over-sized bowls empty on a sparkling clean counter, guest towels folded in little fan shapes on the chrome-like finish of the bathroom sink. 

I like the houses where the residents are obviously still living. They may have smoothed the sheets but their shoes are visible in the wardrobe. There's a smooth lozenge of used soap in the shower recess. There's a couple of well cuddled coloured teddies in the smaller bedroom.

I have no idea where we'll end up but I can tell you this is one of the things you will see in my  new home: 

Isn't it's beautiful? It's fabric! 

These are from a store called Edit in Sydney's Darlinghurst, a former working class, now wholly gentrified suburb on the city rim. I'm not usually one for posting websites but will make an exception for any place that treats fabrics with the reverence I saw here.  If you choose to be further delighted, click here:  www.edit-group.com.au

I've not yet found a house for my leaf curtains. This crumbling corner is my current favourite. It is too small, too cramped and possibly haunted, but jasmine is running riot on the rotting wooden fence outside and there's a wood cooker in the kitchen. 

Also, it matches a lot of my clothes. May I just offer a slightly better indication of my seemingly bottomless bag: 

And here's the jasmine, which has just started scenting Sydney this last week or so. 

If this dank little house were mine, I'd plant hydrangeas in the front and install the matching Edit chair in the stunted triangular little sitting room. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Passing the garden to reach the road

It's likely no one enjoys going to work but every morning, when the train pulls in to the station before my stop, I feel pretty damned fortunate. Even today, when Winter gave Sydney a resoundingly wet goodbye kiss. 

I took that photo on my new phone. The phone is smarter than any person or machine I have ever met. Everyday its achievements and capabilities make me feel a little embarrassed. 

Tomorrow, rain or not, we're going to look for a new house. We've looked at a lot recently but nothing has seemed right, except this one: 

Trouble is, it's not for sale and quite obviously occupied. 
Look at that smug face. He's not going anywhere. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


It's only been a couple of months but it seems much longer.  I would like to thank you very, very much for checking the blog and keeping it alive. When I took a deep breath and logged in last night I expected to find something like a dusty torn shoebox that had been abandoned under an old bed; it is hard to explain how thrilled I was to see that that everything was clean and crisp because people had been dropping in and reading. It meant a lot to me and had a very powerful, positive effect on my outlook. 

Thank you! 

I don't often have many plans for Spring - it has always got along quite well without any intervention from me - but I do plan to reinvent the blog a little as I reinvent myself a little. Hopefully, by the time the jasmine is in full bloom the blog and the pictures will look a little different.

Hopefully too there will more pelicans because frankly I love them. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Intentions to add no bitterness

I really miss blogging.