Saturday, October 27, 2007

Segue: The Move

Those who follow me on Twitter, either through Facebook, the sidebar here, or on Twitter proper, will already know that I’ve recently moved house. I’ve received a number of emails and messages expressing everything from shock and confusion, to utter disbelief about this latest change in my life. To understand such reactions you have to know that I lived at my previous address for just over 11 years. I would lose contact with people, only to reacquaint with them years later, and be able to respond to their catch up questions with ‘Yes, still at Cricket Street’. So you see, no-one, least of all me, was really prepared for such a momentous volte face on my part.

It isn’t that I was content living at Cricket Street, that wasn’t the source of the surprise expressed; anyone who has read this blog for even a short period of time, or been unfortunate enough to listen to me complain about living amidst football crowds and alcohol fuelled shenanigans ranging from drinking and peeing in the green zone bordering my yard, to assaults, murders and rapes, knows I was not especially happy with my living arrangements. But over the years, I just accepted that I had a good deal with the rent, especially for living by myself, and in such a central location. I generally thought I couldn’t complain too loudly, in any official capacity at least, because I had chosen extreme inner-city living.

A couple of things changed, however, that made me reassess my living options. The first of these was the sale, about two years ago, of the flats I lived in. They used to be owned by the family who lived in the house next door. The landlord was a post-war Italian immigrant who came to Australia to work on the Snowy Mountain River Hydro-Electric Scheme. He was sometimes a little overzealous in his maintenance of the yard, popping over whenever he pleased to pick up stray leaves that had fallen from the mango tree, but he was committed to offering reasonably priced accommodation. For health reasons, the family decided to sell the flats and they were bought by a woman who lived overseas, whose parents and brother found the property for her. Now instead of enduring the ministrations of micro-maintenance the flats became neglected, abandoned to the indifference of a real estate property manager, who still managed to be intrusive, ordering a whole series of inspections that seemed to have nothing to do with the appalling condition of the floors, walls, water pipes, or anything else that required the concerted attention of a tradesperson.

So there I was, wallowing in a torpor of squalor and disrepair, when I checked my email one afternoon and saw that someone was seeking a person to share with. I was assured that I’d have my own bathroom, and the asking price was on par with my then current accommodations. Here, finally, was what I could be looking for. Everyone I’d vaguely approached about the possibility of sharing more salubrious lodgings was either committed to living by themselves, on the house-sitting circuit, or caring for elderly parents. I wondered if it would be possible for me to live with someone again after thirteen years of not having to account to anyone for the state of the kitchen sink? And what about the prospect of living with a complete stranger? I had never done this, even when I first left home.

It turns out that I already knew the flat mate I’m now living with. Or, rather I knew her children. We went to youth theatre together; they were about six and eleven years old and as cute as buttons, and I was twenty-three and catching up on my ‘piano lessons’ (the kinds of extra-curricular activities that most people do while they’re still at school).

I made the decision to move in on the spot, and I suppose it’s this, after many years of inertia, while accepting all sorts of infringements upon my comfort and well-being, that has surprised so many, including myself. I sometimes wondered if I would live there putting up with crap, literally and figuratively, forever.

Now, as I sit here typing, I can reflect upon my first week in the new house; I say house, for it is a three bedroom, stand-alone townhouse type of dwelling. In addition to my own bathroom, which I must report, in very excited tones, has a bath, there is a sizeable patio that leads off my bedroom and looks onto a small cricket-pitch shaped garden, surrounded by garden beds with low-maintenance plants.

I’m sitting on my own private patio and looking at the garden.

I pulled up some stray weeds this morning, so it looks particularly nice as the light fades.

I can hear the sounds of children playing; the bossy tones of a five year old swimming with a besotted and pliable adult.

Later, I’ll go upstairs and make myself a salad for dinner in the big galley kitchen with stainless steel benches and a dishwasher. I won’t be eating much more, because I invited a friend over for afternoon tea—something I almost never did at Cricket Street since I was too embarrassed—and she bought some hommus dip with fancy crackers and some lovely Pink Ribbon foundation cup cakes, which were added to the slices of chocolate and carrot cake that had I bought from a cake shop located around the corner, past a small college campus, a league’s club, a creative glass guild, a bowls club, and across a small creek bed with only a very little bit of water in it.

I did laugh when I saw I was going from one football hub to another, but really, from this spot, you’d never know it was there, and the league’s club tends to attract a very different crowd from the pubs and hotels near Suncorp Stadium.

And later, when my flat mate returns from her long, daily walk we’ll talk about her afternoon at work in the library, and we’ll probably watch the news, watched over by various art works that she's accumulated. She’ll tell me how much she can’t bear Kevin Rudd because he’s so mannered, to say nothing of his tardiness in asserting the worth of the union movement and Howard and Costello’s indebtedness to the economic initiatives of the Hawke-Keating years.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Segue: A Series

It's been so long since I've posted, that you've probably all forgotten that I was in the middle of recounting the pictures on my phone. But, anyway, this post is not about that, it's to tell you that there'll be a series of little (fingers crossed) posts, just to fill in the gaps about what's been going on at Chez Galaxy*.

I thought I'd start with this comic that a friend and fellow blogger sent me:

Is Bannerman suggesting, do you think, that blogging is a sequestered and devoted existence?


*As Xander said to Willow: 'Do I deconstruct your segues?'

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I seem to have misplaced the cord that connects my mobile phone to my computer in the event that I want to download any of the photos I randomly snap as I go about my days.

I vaguely recall putting the cord somewhere that was safe in preparation for transporting my lap top to either work or home where I had plans to share the photos with you on this blog. Clearly my safe place was too effective; I've hidden it from myself.

If my brother and I lived in the same town, I'd be able to send them to his fancy computer via bluetooth. He would point out the flaws in my photography (in the nicest possible way), and maybe he would gussy them up a bit with Photoshop to help me appear a better photographer than I am.

It's all a bit annoying, not least because I guess I'll eventually run out of space on the memory card. The main reason, however, is that posting photos I've taken with my phone usually makes for a fairly low maintenance blog post, where I can chatter inanely about the things I've seen, where I've been etc.

And I think we all need a non-demanding blog post from me at the moment.

If I ever find the cord in question, I'll post the photos, but for now, I'll resort to taking you through them verbally. I won't be describing them so much, as they'll provide a kind of trigger for a musing or ten. Yes, there's that many photos and more.

Anyway. Moving right along.

The first group of photos are dominated by a couple of Hannah related events.

Her birthday was a couple of months ago. Everyone turned up to a place called Jiggling Jacks and watched a roomful of pink clad girls and a couple of boys run around madly, fueled by cordial and various other sugar and preservative laden treats.

I played air hockey with Hannah, but her younger cousin was the most enamoured of the game insisting on playing all the time, until the birthday girl got a bit upset by the lack of attention. All was forgiven when I presented her with a gift that combined her two great loves, ballet and stickers. The stickers were of the reusable variety, so she could create her own stories on a board that folded up like a book.

A few weeks later, Hannah and I had another day out. This time I took her to the Science Centre at the Queensland Museum.

There's a photo that looks like Hannah's head is on a platter with some fruit. She found this optical illusion very amusing. As did I. We each had to have several goes, just to laugh at one another and ourselves.

There was one of those electro-magnetic balls at the museum. (I think that's the right term). You put your hand on the glass ball and the lightning-like light is attracted to your hand. I saw someone putting their hands on the top which had the effect of completely drawing all the 'lightning' upwards. After I'd tried that, Hannah had to have a go too. So I lifted her up. I wonder how long it will be before I can't do that? She's growing so much. But she's still so adorably cute that I want to be able to lift her up for a long time to come.

I took a whole heap of photos of Hannah after we finished some lunch, where she got every bit of junk food she requested. What's the point of being an auntie if you can't encourage bad habits? I did make her wait to eat the Chupa Chup until we got to the movies, so I can be a bit of a grown-up.

Anyway, the photos I took. They were in the museum proper. She stuck her head through holes cut out of a number of props painted to resemble a family from the early 19th century as well as a variety of insects. She was, variously, an old-fashioned dressed girl, as well the girl's mother and father; then she became a fly and a praying mantis. When I was taking the photos of Hannah as an insect, two other children appeared to stick their heads through the holes to have their picture taken too. I don't know where their parents were, but I indulged them, taking their photos and showing them the results, which they seemed quite pleased with, jostling one another to pose for even more.

After we saw Ratatouille, Hannah wanted to go to a park to play on the swings. Last time I'd stayed over her place, we ran out of time to do this, so I wanted to indulge her. We wandered into South Bank and followed some people who I'd overheard talking about going to a playground.

After playing on the playground, Hannah decided she wanted to join some other kids making their way over rocks in a winding paddle-pool. I wasn't too sure about this. She wasn't exactly dressed for it. And if anything happened to her while she was in my care, I would just die. I would die anyway if anything happened to her, but you know what I mean.

It's strange what you draw upon in these moments. I recalled a class I took during undergraduate in feminism and ethics. The lecturer had spoken about raising children and the dilemma of wanting them to be safe, but weighing that up against the need for children to be able to take some risks in order to develop their identities. I wouldn't want to wrap her up in cotton wool, so I perched myself on a rock in the middle of the pool and let her go for it.

In the end I had to channel her mother in order to get her out of the pool. I tried being nice Auntie Kirsty, but that was just met with a response that she would 'never, never, never' get out of the pool. I said, 'I'm being serious. You know, in the way that your Mummy gets serious'. Well, clearly she knows the consequences of not responding to seriousness of the Mummy variety. She was out of there.

There are some nice photos of her making her way across the rocks. Every now and then she struck a ballerina pose for the camera.

I might have to do this exercise in a couple of posts, because this one is getting quite long now. Let me just finish with the final photos of Hannah.

We'd stayed over my oldest sister, V's place the night before our outing and we returned there to meet up with Hannah's mother, F. V has two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, one of whom jumped up on Hannah when she was younger. Ever since then Hannah has been wary of the dogs, sometimes completely panicked in their presence. But the night before, she seemed to have finally come to some kind of peace with them, patting them and telling them how cute they were. At the end of the big day out, she decided she wanted some photos taken with Max and Taffy. So those are the final shots of the day. The funniest pose is one where Hannah seems to have channelled a Home Boy persona. Her arms are crossed and she is glaring at the camera with all the 'tude she can muster. And it's quite a lot.